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, July 12, 2011

My Journal - Week 98 (12Jul11)

After the storm, Comes the calm.... Right?!

A week after the massive meltdown, Hunter seems to have turned over his new leaf.  I really believe that Hunter needed to get his "tantrum" out.  It gave him the cleansing that he needed.  It also gave him some Mommy & Daddy understanding to how affected he had been by this new addition.  I am happy to report that life has been much better and while we still have "hicups" here and there, (a few minor growls but nothing more than that) Hunter has become quite the loving big brother that we had hoped he would want to be.
While I am still quite observant of Hunter's actions with his sister, for example - he has no idea of his own strengths, he's happy to be around his sister.  He's concerned when she cries - displaying a face of questioning such as, "Mommy, are you going to fix her?" or calling "Mommy??" when she starts to cry.  But, on observation (which Hunter does very well) he has lovingly tried to help me on many occasions to burp his sister, by patting her back (sometimes a bit hard...) but rubbing and patting nonetheless.  A video I will have to shoot for you all to see.  There has been no more swatting of his sister, and no more attempts to chomp on her, much less myself or Daddy.  Perhaps this is due to the fact (also) that he has three teeth that have come in all at the same time, and only one molar left of all his baby teeth.  Hunter now lovingly strokes his sister's baby soft hair, and gazes into her eyes (when open...) with a chuckle of a response just for her.

This new leaf and acceptance definitely has lessened my stress, since worrying about Hunter's feelings had made me very weary and worried.  It's not that I don't expect blips to happen along the way, or new pangs of jealousy as time goes on - but I am happy that there is an effort and a calm these days.

One place that it was noticed that Hunter was having difficulties or was quote unquote, "more grouchy" was his last swimming lesson.  His instructor Bonnie did happen to comment that she noticed that Hunter was unusually grouchy during his lesson... which was not only affected by his lack of a nap that day, but my forgetfulness to tell her that he now has a new sister!  After the explanation, she fully understood.  We anticipate a better outcome this Friday.  And as I have promised, at some point I will get the lessons on.

So, it has been said that miss Hayleigh is a tiny representation or little version of myself.  Affectionately now known as, Sandi 2.0 or Mini-me!  Where Hunter was born with blond hair and blue eyes, Hayleigh seemily was born with dark brown hair and dark eyes with some odd concoction of blue/grey/brown and green in them?!!  As the weeks go by, her eye colour is definitely starting to lighten up.  One interesting thing I recently noticed is that when I take photos of her, (and her eyes are open) I get red-eye for her.  I had leared quite a while back that people who produce red-eye are those who have lighter pigmented irises.  Those who have dark brown eyes do not experience this phenomena.  It has to do with they layer that covers the lens and also the colour of the iris.  So, I guess in conjunction with time (as it goes on) and what I am observing in her eyes, she will liekly have lighter coloured eyes.  Maybe not so 2.0 after all?!!  And with the fact that she was born with her eyebrows a blondish/reddish colour... while her hair on her head is dark - the question will remain.  So, I guess it will be a while before we learn exactly what her hair and eye colour will be.

I thought it would be prudent for me to post some newer photos (thus also proving wrong to those who said I would probably not take as many photos of my second born...) of the children.  Funny, I am not getting much sleep (since Hayleigh is a night owl...) but I manage to get rest here and there.  Thankfully I have my family to help.  There are many days where they can't though, and it's often trying to have young ones close in age but I know it's worth it.

Canada Day Fireworks - I am showing everyone how I shave, just like Daddy!

A wonderful blanket-bear gift for Hayleigh from friend Haedyn!

I am eating Mommy's left over pepperoni's that she doesn't like!

I'm staring at my Mommy... and she's staring at me!

Daddy's got us both... and we are sound asleep.  Daddy's not too far off either!

Hunter: I am now loving my sister.  She's not that bad!!

Hayleigh:  I'm trying to give Mommy a smile but Mommy cut off some of my face!

Hayleigh: Ahh, this is the life!  Lying here in Mommy's lap!

Hunter:  The front porch is so much fun in summer!!  Wanna play?!

Hunter:  Mommy says I am being such a good boy!!  It's because I am happy!

A Father/Daughter moment.  A kiss for both Daddy & Daughter.

So, next post I should probably upload some videos!!  Hang in there... I will get there.  Some day....

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