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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Sunday, May 20, 2012

My Journal - Week 143 (20May12)

CDSS Conference in Toronto 2012

What an amazing weekend!  Firstly, I'd like to say, a HUGE thank you to all my loyal blog followers!  I simply had no idea that so many Canadians followed my Down syndrome blog.

This weekend, (19-20 May 2012) I had the wonderful opportunity to go to (and spend the beginning of this weekend) at the Canadian Down syndrome Society Toronto 2012 Conference!  What an amazing opportunity I received, to be able to represent the Durham Down syndrome Association as their Vice President.  I was pleasantly and honestly honoured to meet so many friends and families in our wonderful Down syndrome community, while staying and being a part of this conference at the Delta Chelsea Downtown Toronto.

Picture this:  "Hi, you don't know me, but I feel like I have grown along with your family and following your blog" ... or, to my poor unsuspecting husband, "John, you don't know me but I know you and your wife!" and better yet, "I know you!!!  You are Sandi's Husband!!!!"  Imagine his shock... but even though realistically, this had already happened two years ago at our Provincial DSAO Conference in Niagara Falls, we both were only slightly prepared for it this time around - because this time, it happened on a much larger scale.  Every couple of minutes or turn of our heads, someone was approaching us and saying, how they knew us from: and were thankful for: my blog.

I am thankful and teary eyed that my little blog has made such a great impact in our community.  I had no idea that so many read/followed my blog.  What a wonderful and absolute reward.

Even going to this conference, (though I was already scheduled to attend), the CDSS contacted me to arrange a large purchase of my "I Have Down syndrome, What Does That Mean?" book!  I had not intended to bring my books for sale this year to the conference simply because I wanted to focus on representing the DDSA and also learning through being present at the scheduled workshops without having to run ragged tending to a booth for my books on top of it all.  BUT, I decided in hindsight to bring them just in case.  Good thing I did, as several people were hoping by chance that I would be there and be bringing those books and magnets.

Needless to say, our weekend was fully inspiring and educational.  Hardly relaxing, but well worth being present and all ears.  Like usual, I ran my camera like a crazy woman, hoping to catch wonderful moments for the DDSA website and upcoming newsletters - all the while being asked by the CDSS if they could use some of my shots.  Interestingly, their actual photographers didn't seem to like the idea that I was there seemingly infringing on their territory.  I guess I should have mentioned that I wasn't there to step on their toes - only to gather "intel" for my local association.  I thought making idle chit chat about cameras and my lack of professional knowledge would have made that clear but I suppose physical evidence to the contrary (such as having a bag full of expensive lenses and flash) told them otherwise. 

Anyhow, I'll say it again - WHAT a fantastic weekend.  Simply Amazing.  And although extremely limited with and by my very bad back and injuries, we managed to walk slowly (only a block) on Yonge Street just to experience Toronto Downtown life, for what seemed like, one last time at the age of almost 40....  It's interesting how much of a lack of patience I now have for the weirdness and drunkenness of Downtown city life - and even more for the general distaste I have for useless unintelligent people who whisper about seeing "so many people with Down syndrome in one place" (proudly - I'll add) out with their families eating dinner.  I wont even honour their ignorance and spend another moment commenting about the two drunk men who made this remark beside John and I while we sat eating our "Big Slice" pizzas.  Instead, I invited the families over to my table so that I could introduced myself hoping that they would know not all Torontonians/Ontarioians were so foolishly ignorant.

One thing I noticed is that the flashy lights of Yonge Street are still as bright as ever, and the noise of Yonge Street at 11pm is still as loud as ever.

Though this time around we decided not to take our children along, we definitely didn't find ourselves able to go to sleep any earlier or feel like "child-free adults".  It must be an automatic pilot - parent by default thing, to preoccupy yourself with other parent like tasks so that you are prevent from acting "wild or crazy" in spite of being out or away from your offspring.  Either that or we are a sad pair of adults who have forgotten how to "live it up".  It's probably the later of the two....

Anyhow, without feeling too sorry for ourselves, the good news is that we had a good time in spite of our selves.  Here is a sample of the pictures that I took - because I was simply too busy selling books and being in workshops.  My Sunday (which normally I would have still been at the CDSS conference) was taken up with my pre-booked Photography Course though the Academy of Photo Arts, so as a result of that I thought I would add a few other photos I took after coming home from that wonderful lecture/class.

Tim Hortons Owner speaking

Sujeet Self Advocate - Playing one of Seven Instruments

Marlee Matlain "signing" as Keynote speaker

Marlee (US Actress)

Marlee finishing her expressive and captivating message

Sujeet playing the Sax

A Son and his Mom

Newborns first conference

Hunter's Conference Buddy - Garrett

Educations Toys Booth

Just a Tired Me...

A really tired John....  (sorry for the half nudity)

AND OF COURSE, after my photography course....

The family (sans me)

Daddy & Hayleigh

Hunter is Dancing... always dancing.

This kid smiles at everything, almost everything.

See what I mean?

A Breath of Fresh Air on our Porch.

This is one of the last Tulips of the year.

My Neighbours fancy flower garden

Just two Pansies (not peony)... in our garden.

Hope you enjoyed the shots!  This time I have no excuse for poor photos...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Journal - Week 140 (01May12) OUR NEW WEBSITE NAME


Yippee!  It's only taken me two and a half years to change it, but "Welcome To Our House" now has it's official new "WWW" domain name.  No more .blogspot.com umbilical cord attachment for us.  Now forever more known as - "www.welcometoourhouse-ds.net".
One would think, with all my web designing expertise and graphic designing and skills I would have done this long ago.  I've built many many sites in the past three years, including the sister site to "Welcome To Our House" my Ds resource website "Welcome To Our House-Ds" so it stands to reason that they should share the same name, with the only difference being the ending.  To date, I've designed seven business websites.

My list of personally created & designed websites are as follows:
And then sites I've taken over redesigning and maintaining like the Durham Down syndrome Association www.ddsa.ca - which in fact, I will be re-creating a brand new fresh site for.
As well as creating joint websites with already existing programs with my own unique domain name like my Photography Gallery for Random Moments Photography - www.purelyrandommomentsphotography.com

Anyway, despite all the information and websites above, I just wanted everyone to know my website name has changed.  AND, it really wont matter for those who have bookmarked this site - you will still arrive here no matter what way you type in or click to find us.  The old way and new way will work exactly the same.

Cheers everyone!

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