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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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Journal - Week 62 (26Oct10)

The Grand Opening was a HUGE SUCCESS!
YMCA Play to Learn (For kids with Special Needs)

Today was the launch of my latest project - the YMCA Play to Learn Group for kids with special needs!  What a wonderful success!  I am so very pleased with the way things went today.  Being our Grand Opening Day, for the Play to Learn Group for kids with Special Needs everything went so well.  Mom's and children, lots of toys and lots of great conversation.  It was exactly what I knew we needed.  A place to ask each other questions, seek professional guidance from Jenn (Senior Infant & Child Development Consultant - Early Intervention) and let our kids just have old fashioned fun with toys and peers all around.

The best thing happened today.  We were able to exchange information, learn and let our kids have fun.  One mom got some really great information pertaining to Down syndrome about the Disability Tax Credit that she didn't know about.  Another Mom got some super one on one attention from our Infant & Child Development pro.  Another Mom got to meet mom's and her children got to explore and play.  Our resident YMCA manager is specially trained in the area of Special Needs and also specifically in the area of Autism which was absolutely wonderful for one young girl.  She engaged her and had her learning and playing all at the same time.  Even a dad was there.  Which I have to say, I wish John was able to be there also, since I know he would have loved to have been there too.

There was nothing I could say that didn't go the way I had envisioned it.  The YMCA room - a room separate but inside the school with a fenced yard for outdoor play.  Meant specifically and exactly for our needs, complete with kitchen, laundry and of course washrooms.  Sue Morris (our Pickering Location YMCA manager) was there for us ready with snacks and juice for everyone.  I couldn't complain.  We even had a goody bag to take home with us, complete with a Parents Canada magazine, Hydra Sense mist (something no mom should ever live without, especially having a child who has Ds and has gone (or goes through) through the congestion stages) for the hard to blow runny nose.  If this sounds crazy, I may just be - but it really was a dream come true.  Very satisfying after all the hard work and nearly a years worth of putting this all together.  (Exactly 11 months).  While the turn out was smaller today, (being that our flyers didn't get out as fast as we had originally planned) we know that our future Tuesdays will be busier in the weeks to come.  For one thing, my new acquaintance, Donna Wright (President of the Down syndrome Association of Ontario, and Representative for the Durham Down syndrome Association) has graciously asked me if I would provide to her my flyers for the Play to Learn Group so that she can post them on those two websites in order to give us the exposure that we need which in turn will get the message out to parents of children with Down syndrome, that the group exists and is open and welcome to everyone.  I am so pleased to have met Donna during the Down syndrome conference just over a week ago, and I hope that in future we can collaborate on many projects to come.  I would love nothing more then to be a part of the Ds association of Ontario or Durham - more then just a member as I am today.  Whatever I can do to help, I hope will go a long way to advocate for and help others with Down syndrome.

The only one thing I am sad about is that I spent so much time talking and having fun that I only took a few photos despite the fact I made it a point to bring my "Mamarazzi" camera with me.  My trusty sidekicks Penny & Darwin (however) saved me in the nick of time by taking photos of and for us all.  I will post those as soon as I get them from her.  In the mean while, I was able to get a couple of shots with Hunter and his new friend Taylor-Rose, (who coincidentally, along with Penny's son Vaun will be part of my new website and upcoming 4th book, Welcome To Our House:  Our Journey With Down syndrome - The First Year).

I hope that everyone enjoyed themselves as much as Hunter and I did, I know we found it so beneficial.  I also hope that for everyone who couldn't make it out this week, that we will see you on our next date (every other Tuesday) November 9th, 2010.  A special "Thank you" to all the mom's who attended.  Without you today, the day would not have been the same.

Mommy brought me to this neat place called the YMCA.   I could play all day!
I met Taylor-Rose!  She wanted me to play but I wanted to show here these cool blocks!
Her mommy told her to give me a kiss, but being a boy, I ran away!
Then when I wasn't looking, she got one in!  But I turned and she instead she kissed my head!
Of course Mommy wasn't fast enough, but here's a clear shot of her kissing of my head!
So instead, I nabbed Taylor-Rose's Mommy and told her all about it!  She just smiled at me!
Keep watching!  More photos of everyone to come!  And I have to say - if I haven't said it enough, I can't wait until the next Tuesday - Hunter and I had so much fun!

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