Sunday, August 2, 2009

Celebrating the Life of One Who Has Changed Our Life

John Austin Hill turned 1 year old on Wednesday, July 29, 2009. The day went the same for him as the previous 364 days of his life as he had no idea of the significance of the day. But it was very different for my family and I as we marked the day with special surprises, thoughts, and time for John as we showered him with the love and appreciation for his life and membership into our family. As we celebrated with immediate and extended family, it caused me to reflect upon the past year with him.

It would not be accurate for me to tell you that our life hasn't changed because it has. The question is has it been for the worse or for the better. The answer will differ depending upon ones frame of reference. If that question were asked of a person or couple who has the goal of independence of children and a freedom to someday enjoy life without the responsibility of a child to care for, the answer may be negative. Or if a family prided themselves on keeping a neat attractive appearance in the community, the answer may also be negative. I will admit that I sometimes fall victim to this line of thinking. But I then have to reign in my thoughts and reassess the real value of life: is it to keep up appearances and a lifestyle of doing for me or is it about relationships and passing on a legacy in the children we raise. For my wife and I, we made the decision early in our marriage that relationships were much more important than any amount of money we would make or possessions that we would acquire.

This is not to say that we do not struggle with the negative thoughts. Any human would but this is one of those situations in life where ones attitudes, faith, and beliefs are tested. It is true that our life has changed this past year as life has slowed down and we have stayed close to home. John has required a bit more attention than our other children had at this age, and by choice, my wife and I chose that I would be a stay at home Dad during this initial phase of his life in order for me to help him with some skills that will be foundational in his life of learning.

With all of that said, John has greatly blessed our lives in more ways that we could have ever imagined. The extra time spent feeding him, caring for him when he has been sick, working with him to help him master new skills, etc. has all been life changing for the Hill Family. We are proud of all of our children, but John has breathed a new life into this family like none other.

We give thanks to the Lord for choosing us to care for this child and for the lessons John has taught us this past year. We are also thankful for a healthy Down syndrome child. John - may your light shine as bright as your sister and brothers.

Dad

8 comments:

heather said...

Happy 1st birthday John! It seems like so many little babies that I have been following on blogs are now turning one! It is hard to believe they are growing up so quickly. The first birthday is a huge milestone for the parents. I felt like I was celebrating my birthday and acceptance. It was an emotional year and it was nice to be able to start the next one. How neat that you have been able to be a stay-at-home-dad his first year too. That is time you will ALWAYS cherish! Happy Birthday!

Angela said...

Happy first birthday, John!! I totally agree with you that Benjamin has irrevocably changed our lives for the better.

Hector and Jennifer Varanini Sanchez said...

Happy Birthday! I think the title of Kathryn Soper's latest book sums it all up for a lot of us parents...the year my son and I were born :)!

Ria said...

Happy 1st Birthday! May your lives continue to be enriched with a future laden with oppotunities and blessings.

Beverly said...

Happy First Birthday John!!! You need to show some photos of your sweet boy on his bday!

Andy and Ellen Stumbo said...

Happy Birthday!

Love to see new posts ;)

datri said...

Happy Birthday, John!

Lisa said...

Happy Birthday John!