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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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Journal - Week 82 (23Mar11)

It's official:
I am now an Executive Board Director of the 
Durham Down syndrome Association!

After a wonderful meeting with the Durham Down syndrome Association this past Tuesday, it has been made official that I am now part of the DDSA executive and a board director.  I was very happy to get so involved with the association, as I feel I have many years of executive experience with past endeavours that I can contribute, and also a whole part of me which has dedicated the last two years to educating and supporting the Down syndrome community. 
Currently my responsibilities include being the Director of, "Resources", "Memberships" and the quarterly "Newsletter".  All of these responsibilities are right up my alley and I feel that I have much to offer in those areas.  It's very important for me as an educator and a supporter to be able to provide services and be of service to support the association and ultimately the Down syndrome community.  Every step that I take, every thing that I do, helps Hunter and everyone else who needs any sort of assistance or advocacy.  I take my role very seriously as it has been mentioned that I prepare for my future position to become Chair - and I would gladly accept that position should they want me as I aspire to do just that.  For now, I am completely thrilled to be able to help and also learn.

It is with taking these responsibilities and also knowing that an association such as this one which needs people, who are willing to go that extra mile; that I do exactly that.  This very association not too long ago, was in jeopardy of having to consider amalgamation because there were not enough people to help it to push forward and succeed.  Every organization needs new influxes of people, fresh insights and dedicated persons willing to step up, and help the association to become a positive resource for those families who want and need to have exactly that.  At the same time, the organization needs it's back bones - the original people who have the knowledge and skills that made it what it was then and allow it to grow.  Together, an obvious mix of strong volunteers will make a kind of difference that the people of Durham need it to be.

In being part of this association, I can definitely pass on information that we have which can assist and benefit anyone who reads my blog and also help to spread the word relating to other wonderful things such as seasonal Events or Fundraisers (which will be coordinated by the Director of Fund raising).
As an Example, some future/upcoming activities or events can include things like (but not limited to):
  • dances (Christmas)
  • parties, 
  • picnics (summer), 
  • bowling and sports, 
  • a Buddy walk, 
  • awareness activities (booths/information sessions/shows), 
  • and other group programs (Parent/Child Support & Playgroup YMCA)
  • Open general meetings (to find and meet other families)
As part of my duties, I am hoping to make connections and gain memberships from the many families here in Durham, Ontario.  Note: Memberships are not limited to the residents of Durham, anyone can be a member.  I personally am a member of four Down syndrome associations. It has been suggested that there may be some 200 plus families that have a child with Down syndrome whom we (as an association) have not yet reached.  I am hoping that I can seek out and find some (if not all) of these families and primarily provide resources and regular information that can help to better the lives of individuals with Down syndrome.
And of course, as an association - we are always looking for donations and would be happy and extremely honoured to receive any amount that a person is willing to give.  Any amount over $20.00 is automatically issued a donation receipt for income tax purposes since the DDSA is a registered charitable foundation.  PLEASE feel free to contact me directly if there is interest in becoming a member or making a donation!  Similarly, if anyone is interested in receiving information about the association or resources in general, they can contact the DDSA directly (905-433-4100) or myself (Sandi) directly - via email or phone (see "All about us" or the "Contact Form" page here on my blog at the top under the "Welcome To Our House" banner).  The DDSA website is www.ddsa.ca which can always be located as a reference in my blog on the right hand side in my reference websites.  Stay tuned, as I will also be working to get the DDSA website updated.

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