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, June 17, 2012

My Journal - Week 147 (17Jun12) Hayleigh 1st Birthday

HAPPY 1st Birthday to Hayleigh & HAPPY Father's Day!!!


Though Hayleigh's birthday officially is the 15th of June, we celebrated her birthday party on the 17th June which was (coincidentally) also Father's Day!  This was not really a co-incidental plan since our weekend was dramatically over busy with work conventions and my Advanced level Photography Course.  Nevertheless (with all the craziness aside), with only a subsequent small window left (Sunday afternoon) we knew that it would work out just right because when Hayleigh was born, she didn't come home from the NICU until the Sunday - which was actually Father's Day!  So it was actually very appropriate that we celebrated her birthday party on the same day.

I was lucky enough to be "relieved" so to speak from my usual photographic duties for this special day.  When you think about it, having spent the entire morning at an advanced level course in the Guild - was photographic enough!  So, with great planning (and a best friend who stepped up to the plate) Godfather Oliver took over and managed a fully Manual DSLR with great ease for me!  For a person who has never shot with a DSLR, (and in manual no less) he did a fantastic job.  I only interviened to change the exposure here and there.  Everything else was ALL him! 

We invited our closest family and my best friends to help us celebrate miss Hayleigh's special day.  It's hard to believe that a year has passed so quickly and that she is nearly as tall and talking away!  She also gave herself an early birthday present and surprised us by taking her very first unassisted four steps on the 14th June, exactly a day before her first birthday!  She is always full of surprises!  Her vocabulary is constantly full of surprises also - as we work so diligently with Mr. Hunter, she has been reaping the rewards of our efforts and has been mimicking everything said.  Her first official word (quite some time ago) was CAT.  Now she says just about everything anyone says... so it's hard to keep track.  She affectionately calls her big brother, "TER-TER" and on occasion actually says HUNTER.  She always calls for her "GRANDPA" and "UMMA" for her beloved grandmother.  She yells for her DADDA, and screams for her MOMMYYYY.  She yells excitedly "CAT" every time one of our four felines roams past, and is now calling "TWIGGY" by name.  She laughs and claps with delight anytime "M-ELMO" is on television (Elmo, which she does say correctly when Hunter tells (reminds) her it's ELMO) but there are still exceptions to her verbal vocab as she will still sign "milk" when she's thirsty.

My mother used to always reminisces how fast I learned to speak (especially every time someone jokes or comments at how much/often I talk) but is more amazed at how much faster miss Hayleigh is with her speech.  I wonder where she gets it from?!!!

Anyhow, the day was so much fun - I can't even begin to tell you how amazing it is to watch your children enjoy their day, from eating their first piece of birthday cake, opening their first ever birthday presents, and shrieking with delight at all the new toys, books and clothes that they get.  Thanks to all my family and friends for the lovely and very special gifts that Hayleigh received.  I didn't forget about Hunter - I specifically bought him (what we then affectionately coined during the gift opening) the "neglected child gift".  I thought ahead, since my son is infamous for exhibiting a truly pout-y jealous look and ear splitting whine (that every parent has heard I am sure).  It worked like a charm, because he was amazed and ecstatic with his fully automated, light-flashing, crazy sounding CAT steering wheel (which for the record, nearly cost as much as Hayleigh's Busy Ball Popper).... Sigh (of relief).  It was one of those great, well planned moments that I have to give myself a pat on the back for.  Otherwise, it could have been slightly disastrous - and that would have been zero fun.

Enough talk.  Here are some of the best photos from our amazing day.

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Getting ready, waiting for something to happen...
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I know something's coming... They keep telling me to smile!
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Boooo... How long do I have to wait?
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I'll just take a peek in here while I wait...
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Ah ha!  I was right, people are here!
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Now that's more like it!  People my size that I can play with!
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This is my cousin Ryan!  He's more my size!
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Hunter is hanging out with my friend Ashur!  Ashur and I are only 3 weeks apart in age.
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Mommy said it was time to open gifts!!!  Ohhhhhh!  This is fun!  I like this part!
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Something called a "Tickle Monster"??!!  I don't know about Monsters but it looks like fun!
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My Aunty Merlene got me make-up??!!  But Mommy said I was too young for make-up?!
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Awww Grandma!  This caterpillar is soooo soft and squishy!  I love her!  I'll give her the best bug-hugs!
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Hunter:  Ha!  I've got the best part... tissue paper!  Yay me!!
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Mommy always tells me not to rip up paper, but now she says to rip up this paper?!  I'm so confused.
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Okay, if you say so!  I've got it with both hands.
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Check me out!  I'm stylin'....
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My very own cake!
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Blow?  I'll let Mommy do all the work... She said I can make a wish though!
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Wow... and Mommy always say's not to eat with my hands.  I'll do it delicately, I don't have my bib on...
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Ah ha!! I am now bibbed up.  I will just tackle this chocolate covered strawberry first....
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And so what?!  Look at me go!!!  That's what my hands were made for!!
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I am too smart for my own good.  I figured out this finger licking good thing, all by my self.
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Check me out!  I am so sweet...  (I think Hunter is wondering what's up with me though).
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My Godfather's!  They love me sooo much, and I LOVE THEM!!
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Uncle Andrew is being chased by Hunter, with Aunty Raji and Ryan in tow!
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Ohhh look out!  Here comes Hunter!  He's gunna get Uncle Andrew!
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Hey look at me!  Just in time to have a few swings in the backyard before the rain comes!
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We aren't sure what Uncle Lester is doing - so...  Hey Ryan!  How's it going over there?!
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We are family!
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Hunter is mighty strong!  He's got the whole blue ball in his hands....
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And, kudos (and kisses) to Mommy, Hunter said Mommy did a great job for baby Hayleigh!!

An amazing day, amazing photos, amazing family, amazing kids.  What else can I say?!
Thank you once again - everyone, for making it so special.


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