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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Friday, July 15, 2011

My Journal - Week 98 (15Jul11)

THE 1st and 2nd FIFTEENTH... Girl vs. Boy.

Today, miss Hayleigh is 1 month old - 4 weeks exactly as of today the 15th!  Hunter, is 23 months old today also the 15th.  I have no idea where the time goes when you have children.  I don't recall time ever going so quickly in my life, but indeed here we are.

I had been promising and promising to post Hunter's newest swimming videos, and finally I uploaded them.  The one you will see here is from last week - July 8th.  It was the first video taken since Hayleigh's birth AND boy can you tell....

Noticeably as time flies by, we see the small progressions in Hunter's swimming lessons.  Unfortunately in this particular week shown you can see Hunter is slightly agitated and grumpy.  This is due to two very important reasons.  One, he is lacking his usual nap before swimming and two, (and much more importantly) he is struggling with a new change at home - having his new baby sister!!  BUT either way, he still loves his swim time with Bonnie and it's still a fun break for Mr. Hunter!  The newer progression we noticed this week is Bonnie being able to pull Hunter by his head without supporting any other part of him, while on his back.  The contributing distraction for Hunter that we noticed is that his usual pool deck supervisor (Cindy - the older Asian woman) is gone for the summer and Hunter was so comfortable with her and he's obviously missing her.  It's a change that Hunter doesn't like or accept.  Just today while at his lesson (which I do not have uploaded yet), he was terribly upset with his new young deck supervisor who he would look up at and get so unhappy that he actually cried!  This "crying" is a first for Hunter.  He has never cried during or at a swim lesson, so he's obviously distressed with all the changes.




Despite the sadness and changes, one thing we know for sure is that he still loves his swimming.  When you ask him about going to swimming, he laughs, smiles and rambles on at a mile a minute!  Also, he can't wait to get going and into the truck to go.  So, knowing that is still comforting.

On a "Sandi note":  I have been thinking of some personal changes in my life which I would like to explore and possibly make.  Due to my policing injuries, work has been out of the question for a few years now.  Though I have been an officer for over 14 years and any change at this point sort of seems impossible for me to even contemplate, one idea has been gnawing at me for a while.  My family doctor and also family members have often asked me, why don't you study (go back to school) and become a doctor?  Now, if I wasn't nearly 40 - I would consider doing it.  I love medical science, helping others and teaching.  But turning 38 in a few months makes me realize, going back to school for approximately 10 years wouldn't make a whole lot of sense at this time in my life, at least for me.  Not to mention the tuition costs....  But, with Hunter being my child and my strong advocacy stance for Ds, as well as my recent appointment to the Durham Down syndrome Association, I have been thinking about areas within the "special needs" more and more and as time goes on.  I realized that this might be the area I want to move forward in as I found it very satisfying to have created a Play to Learn group through the YMCA for families and children with any special need. 

Also, when we took Hunter to the renowned Ds speech pathologist, Jill Clements-Baartman of the TLC (Talking Language and Communication Inc.) for his first speech assessment, I realized that there was something about being a S-LP (Speech Language Pathologist) that appealed to me.  Now, it's important to note, Hunter's "speech path" Jill (the same renowned S-LP that the DDSA uses) advised us that Hunter's speech was fine and at the time, was not in need of having a Speech Pathologist work with him as many many children with Ds do often require.  In working in the DDSA (Durham Down syndrome Association) as an Executive Board Director, we had put together a Summer Literacy Program (which we chose to run with Jill) - that directly focused and would target speech and language skills of children/teens or adults with Ds.  So, while it would certainly be helpful for Hunter (should he ever need a S-LP) I just happen to realize how much of a difference it could make for those who need Speech/Language Therapy in their lives, should I pursue that "career" avenue - not to mention Hunter.

I always like to be able to do for Hunter the same things that professionals do (to help him along in the best way possible) and becoming a Speech Pathologist would definitely do that.  Not only for Hunter, but I have ALWAYS enjoyed teaching, and this definitely falls into that category - specifically to and for Ds.  Not to mention that a Speech Pathologist can make an awful lot of money since it is so specialized....!  It would mean though, Sandi must return to University.  I still have 26 university credits which are not applied to any major or masters degree so it would definitely work out if I chose to go through to become a licenced S-LP. 

Would you believe that the other thing I would love to do some point in my life is learn how to Tattoo people??!!  Well, that's another story all together....  That's for my creative/artistic side.

Next (and more importantly for the moment) on the agenda, is the planning of Hunter's 2nd birthday party!  Details to come - it's going to be wild & fun.  It's a personal "Mommy" planned party with awesome activities and lots of cool things to do.  More on this, next post.

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