Welcome to Our House - The Analogy ©

Having a baby is special. For some, it’s a lifelong dream, for others, a wonderful surprise. Either way, many of us have thought about taking this journey and whether it’s planned or a pleasant surprise, we all have preconceived ideas about what our child will look and be like. But what if it isn’t what we planned or expected? This is a short story I have written for parents who have or are expecting an exceptionally special child.

Welcome to our House – An analogy

After many months of dreaming, you finally decide it’s time. You are going to build that perfect house of your dreams. You have saved and saved, and now it’s time to put your plan into action. You find a wonderful, perfect piece of land in the city. It’s exactly what you are looking for – because it’s the plan that everyone talks about. You envision the all brick house sitting on luscious green grass, surrounded by a white picket fence. Inside is a marble foyer leading into a family room with beautiful oak hardwood floors. Granite lines the kitchen counter tops and there is an island sink in the middle. Upstairs has four perfect bedrooms and the master bedroom has an ensuite bathroom and an enormous walk-in closet, of course. It’s truly a dream come true, and it’s only a matter of time. You purchase the land and think to yourself, in nine short months, you will have it all.

But suddenly your agent calls to tell you, the land is not properly zoned, and the city has not approved it for building your perfect home. They have instead, given you land in the country, where an old country home sits. You are absolutely devastated, your dreams vanishing right before your eyes. You know you can’t back out now, you need a place to live, and despite it not being what you wanted, you know that somehow you will manage and that you can continue on.

You tell everyone what has happened, and everyone is disappointed, some even offering their condolences. You know that everyone else has a nice city home, and that was what you had planned, but you have to come to terms with the fact that you must learn to live in the country.

You go to see the property every month until closing and something funny happens. You start to fall in love with the place. The air is fresh, it’s peaceful and serene. There’s a pond on the land, and the house, though not a new all brick home, is quaint, and has lots of hidden potential. You soon realize it’s not a awful place, it’s just a different place. It’s slower paced than the city, less noisy and flamboyant, but it’s beautiful none the less. And in the process, you soon realize you may even get to meet some new and wonderful neighbours.

Its closing day and you suddenly find yourself full of anticipation, but you are still a little worried. After all, it isn’t what you had originally hoped for, and the house may need some repairs. But you are determined to accept it, and tackle everything one step at a time. You open the front door, and suddenly you are thrilled with what you see. The house is lovely, and has lots of character. The rooms are smaller but it’s decorated with beautiful attention and detail. The kitchen has marble instead of granite, and the bathroom has a soaker tub instead of a Jacuzzi. There isn’t a walk-in closet in sight, but the rooms all come with an indescribable view. Somehow, you just know that it was always meant to be and that this is now home.

This is my analogy of what it will be like for people who discover that they will be caring for a baby with Down syndrome. For us, it is not a terrible place to be, it is a journey full of surprises, milestones and discovery like any other child. And as the story suggests, sometimes it’s only a matter of ‘point of view’, and surprisingly, once you have been there, you don’t want to be anywhere else. The journey, like all others doesn’t come without some bumps in the road, but once you find your way, it’s all about the place you discovered, in most cases - quite by random chance
Author: Sandi Graham-McWade, Copyright
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Monday, September 6, 2010

My Journal - Week 55 (05Sep10)

Fast cars, trucks and a race track.... WITH RAIN?!

Firstly I am going to apologize for such a lengthy post but our weekend ended up being an unexpected lengthy ordeal!  All and all, I have rewarded your patience with some wonderful photos at the end.

A few days back I mentioned that Daddy won tickets from the radio station 97.7 Htz Fm.  This is the second time that John has won tickets to something really fun.  Last time it was to a concert in December 2008.  This time the tickets were for the Jet Car National Races held at Cayuga Race Way otherwise known as Toronto's Raceway.  I had to drive 240 km (round trip) on Thursday in order to pick up the tickets he won since the radio station is in St. Catherines Ontario.  St. Catherines is just outside of Niagara Falls on the Canadian side.  The unfortunate part of winning tickets to anything from this radio station is that all the events that they seem to promote or give away tend to be in the Niagara area.  The Cayuga race way is no exception.  Cayuga is about 45 minutes south of Hamilton Ontario, in the Haldimand-Norfolk region.  I have to say, the only reason I know about this area is because my police force actually polices this regional area.  The tickets that John won were all day passes for Saturday's (4th September) racing.  The ticket package was worth $120 dollars and came complete with four tickets.  Since it was such last minute notice, we were not able to find two other people to join us.  We decided to make it a day trip, pack up little Hunter Bunny and take him to his very first drag racing event!  (Not to mention, Mommy's first live drag racing event also.)

It would seem that everything was perfect leading up to this Saturday, except for the weather.  Mother Nature never seems to want to go along with our plans.  The Toronto area called for rain all day, leading into Sunday.  The Niagara and Hamilton area however, was supposed to be pretty clear except for some possible intermittent showers.  We decided the free tickets were worth taking the chance, as well, I had already spent more then half of Thursday picking them up and about $50 dollars in fuel to get them.

We made our way down to Cayuga, arriving in the afternoon.  Would you believe as we pulled into the small town of Cayuga, the rain actually started to pour.  I could not believe it!  Not a drop of rain as we left the Durham region, passing Toronto and south toward Niagara.  We pulled up to the gates, and by this time it was absolutely pouring.  John got out and asked the attendants if the races were still going on, only to be told that the races had been halted.  Obviously, the show will not continue if the track is wet let alone drenched.  Hunter was oblivious to everything, fast asleep in his car seat.  Daddy and I decided that we would go into the closest town and get some dinner to wait out the rain.  We knew that the Jet Car National races were to start at 6pm and 9pm, along with fireworks at the end of the night.  We programed the GPS to find us old faithful, McDonalds.  I always thought that McDonalds was a safe bet when looking for somewhere easy and fast to eat, as well as being able to find one when you are in an unfamiliar town.  Sadly, the closest McDonalds was about 13 kilometres away in the next major town called Caledonia.  This was another town that I was familiar with only by name because of my police department.  (The Ontario Provincial Police had built a sub station in that town a few years back due to some protesting dealing with Native Land rights.)  We fed all three of us, and then I called the racing organizers to find out if they planned on continuing the races.  Despite the rain having stopped, the organizer on the other end of the phone told me that they had cancelled the races for the day.  I was stunned.  The organizer told me that the plan was to have the races on the Sunday - the next day.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing!  I had not even thought about the possibility of a postponement.  I figured at worst it would be just a simple rain delay, but I was wrong.  Now, the trick was to decide if we should cut our losses, turn around to drive all the way back home and also lose all the money and time we had invested in coming!  Which brings me to point out, winning free tickets never means that you wont spend anything.  After talking it over, we decided to stay overnight and make a weekend out of it.

The next mission for the night was to figure out where we could stay.  Small town Cayuga actually did not have any hotels.  Motels yes, Bed & Breakfasts yes, but Hotels... No.  I decided to put a call into my brothers and sisters in blue and ask them for a suggestion where we could stay that would be clean and appropriate for a one year old baby.  I was surprised to find out that a couple of places we had originally thought would have been decent to stay at, were not.  (Thank goodness for great Police connections.)  The officer finally mentioned the Super 8 motel just 10 more minutes outside of Caledonia.  By the time we got there, it was pouring cats and dogs again.  I went in and spoke to the lady at the reception.  I suppose I should have realized, with the event being rained out, everyone else had the same idea as we did, along with all the people who were actually competing in the races.  The motel was completely sold out.  The mission to find somewhere to stay had become our newest challenge.  We ended up driving 30 more minutes back into Hamilton, where Hotels were abundant.  Being that I am a Provincial Police Officer for the Province of Ontario (which is Government), I qualified for the government rate and we acquired a beautiful room at the Sheraton Hotel for close to the same price as the Super 8 motel.  Once we finally arrived at the Hotel, we found out that the standard floors did not have any more king sized beds.  We were immediately upgraded to the Club floor.  How lucky we were!  Something out of all the bad was turning out to be good!

Now, because I happen to be an over prepared person and Mommy, I always carry an extra can of ready made formula, extra clothes, a sleeper, towel and baby toiletries in Hunter's huge diaper bag.   I had to laugh because on several occasions John and my mother have mentioned to me that Hunter's bag is so heavy and I don't need all the things I have inside.  So, approximately one week ago, I took out the small Johnson & Johnson baby products travel pack which weighed a bit.  It was at that very moment I was cursing that I did that.  Who ever says, if you don't use it in a year, you never will - doesn't have my life!  Murphy and I are on a first name basis.  (Murphy's Law.)  I found a late night Shoppers Drug Mart, and picked up an extra bottle of Organic Baby food, Wheat Cereal, Heinz Apple Juice.  Then I had to pick up stuff for Mommy and Daddy!  Toothbrushes, and the usual extra travel toiletries.  The biggest joke is, I have extra shirts and sweaters in the back of my Avalanche SUV.  So, mostly I was prepared for anything and this race postponement was not as bad as it seemed.  I think in actuality, I found this more like a romantic getaway adventure!  It was really kind of neat to have to fly by the seat of our pants, and get a weekend stay out of it!  It isn't often that we can get a weekend away these days, so I really liked that we were forced to have one!

We finally got settled into our Club level oversized Hotel room, which felt and looked very luxurious.  I have to say, the bedding and sheets were really something.  The view, from the 17th floor of 18 was also something else.  The staff at the Sheraton provided us with a mini fridge for Hunter's formula, and made our stay feel wonderful.  They only thing I had not counted on was Hunter having had so much nap time, since he loves to fall asleep in his car seat, that he was wide awake once we got settled into the Hotel room.  He stayed that way until 2:00am which didn't help me because I was absolutely bushed.  The extra advantage of being in such a nice Hotel was that check out time was not the usual 10 or 11 am, for us it was noon!  Another really nice bonus.  After a late breakfast, we started heading back toward the Race Way.  We almost had another fiasco at the entry gates because I am guessing the staff for the Sunday races were not advised that many of us were told that our Saturday all day passes would be accepted on Sunday.  After a few moments of explanation, as well as another family behind us who were told the same thing, we were admitted.  Honestly, I would have been pretty upset had they not allowed us to enter.  Thankfully that didn't happen.  Though the skies were threatening to shower again, the rain stayed away for us.

We finally entered, found some great seats and sat down for some live great racing!  I have to say, it was just like watching the show "Pinks" on the Speed Channel but obviously live.  I took precautions and bought Hunter some foam ear plugs since it was pretty loud with supped up engines roaring down the 1/4 mile track.  I have to say, I was amused that Hunter seemed to love the cars, and remained such a good boy throughout the entire time we were there.  I was asked to take photos of our trip and event, and as the "Mommarzzi" that I am (a term one of my friends calls herself and I for being like the paparazzi ) I of course complied and took over 80 pictures!  I picked out the best ones that I love from our weekend for everyone to see.  I hope you enjoy them!

I am not sure where we are, but the bed feels really nice and I have my rings!
Yep, still have my rings and also my pj's!  All is good with the world.
I am a very happy boy!  I get to go and see car racing tomorrow! (And yes it's 11:30pm)
It's Sunday morning and we are all ready to go!  Mommy, stop taking photos and let's go!
This is the view of Hamilton from the 17th Floor of the Sheraton.
Here is another view of Hamilton.   It's a nice shot except for the flash....
Would you look at us!  Mommy and I are having a blast at this Race!  It's our 1st time!
This is THE most famous and fastest Truck, it's a JET engine truck!  It goes over 150+ MPH!
I love my Daddy!  He won these tickets for us to see these races!  I clap for every car!
I am so excited to see racing that I think I can do it too!  (Mommy wont let me do it for real yet!)
I am trying to show Mommy that I can do it by myself!  I even press the horn!  Beep Beep!
I have no idea why I know how to do this, but I looks and feels right!  Isn't this how you do it?
I don't care what anyone says, I think I know what I am doing! And I am laughing too!
I can even show you how to do it!  It's very easy see?  One hand!  I love pretend driving!
After dinner & pretend driving we are back to watch more racing & have a family photo.
Mommy took some great burn out shots!  A fun day we will never forget!
After the smoke clears and the light goes green, check out the wheelie launch on these two!
But, my Mommy loves taking photos of me and Daddy!  We guys love this kind of stuff!
Ohhhhhh!  We just saw the coolest cars!  Can you tell?!
Mommy!  Can't you take pictures of something else?  I know I am cute but honestly!
My Daddy makes me laugh so much!  I am enjoying this family trip!  Daddy is cool like me!
Mommy is catching us having boy talk about the last race!  We are discussing the win!
I think Daddy loves me just as much as I love him!  Just, don't drop me please!
Oh thank you Daddy!  I am giving you one giant Kissy and hug.  I love you so much.
Now, no more photos Mommy.  I am watching the cars.  This is serious stuff you know!
I even saw junior dragsters.  I think I want to do that when I turn 8.  But Mommy isn't so sure!
At the end of the track is the finish line.  Appropriately placed for the end of the photos.

And there you have it.  27 photos out of 82.  I hope that I didn't over do it, but there again I think and always say when it comes to Hunter, you can never have too many photos. 

Just a small additional note, Tuesday the 7th of September I will be having my final arrangements meeting for my Parent/Child Support/Play group.  I have been so super busy with everything that I haven't been putting in the amount of time I would have liked to with respect to the planning and promoting of this group.  We will discuss that and everything at the meeting though and I will be reporting an update on my blog after the meet.

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