Monday, October 17, 2011

Unconditional Love

I wrote the following about three years ago. This slice of life nugget won my husband and I dinner for two at a French restaurant in Dallas. Our daughter, Tresa Lynn, is now 20. She has Down Syndrome. She has given all of us incredible joy over the years, and continues to be an inspiration to us and many others.

I couldn’t believe I was finally bringing her home. This beautiful baby girl was finally in my arms and away from all the nurses, doctors, and more importantly, all the tubes she had lived with for her first two weeks. After four boys, I finally had my girl.
                Her large round blue eyes looked at me quizzically from out of the heavy yellow blanket I had wrapped her in while we waited for the bus to take us home. She was going to meet her brothers for the first time. With her little face and pixie nose she didn’t look like she had Down Syndrome, the tests said that. I flashed back to the day I found out I was pregnant for the sixth time in eight years and the prayer that I said. “Lord, please give me a girl who will be a little girl forever.” They say you get what you pray for, little did I know then what that meant for our lives.
                Grief is the first step in the process of having a special needs child. Grief for the loss of the child you thought you would have because that child doesn’t exist. But grief turned inward can become self-pity, and that does no one else any good. The immediate concern was getting home with this precious gift and let God work.
                The temperature was in the 40’s in that little German town, as we waited for the bus. It was May 1, the second biggest holiday in that culture, so the bus schedule was different. It was an hour of waiting to board the bus. No one knew we were coming, they thought it would be only me.
                As I walked up the two flights of stairs to the army-approved apartment we lived in, my baby girl slept. She did that a lot because she had a hole in her heart. She was tiny, weighing less than 7 pounds. Compared to her brothers when they were born, she was a china doll. For what I knew at that time, she was as breakable as one.  I opened the door and walked into a room of boys-my husband and my sons were sitting in front of the television watching an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  My husband tall and blond, with a baby face that never showed age, set his guitar down against the couch when he saw me walk in, surprised. As I sat the baby carrier down in the middle of the livingroom floor, four faces looked up at me and then down at the new addition to our family. The oldest, age 7, had been so anxious to see his sister and was the first one beside her. He gently unwrapped the blanket from around her face, the other boys joining him. Our youngest boy, only 18 months old, seemed bewildered by this new little person.
                All four boys gathered around the little miracle and touching her face, her little hands, taking off the booties and checking out her toes. They touched her face, speaking in their young voices about how beautiful she was, how little she was, telling her how much they loved her, as if they knew this one would need them her whole life. Through it all my little angel slept peacefully, the poking and prodding and loving voices not disturbing the peace and joy she carried on her face.
                That was eighteen years ago, and the love, peace and joy that radiated from her face that day has not changed. The love that of her brothers  is still as deep as it was that first day home. Because of her, many people have learned what unconditional love is. She is a miracle, a gift from God. While there have been hard times and fearful times, there has always been joy. God answered a simple prayer, and brought joy into the world.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Waves of Life

In life, ebb and flow is the one constant we can count on. One day you are on the mountain, the next at the bottom of the hill. These cliche's describe just what life has been like in the last several days.

We never know when the "things of life" will pile up on us. It just happens. Before we know it, we are snowed under with issues and problems.

This last week it has been issues with people who do not like what we represent, two deaths, a friend dealing with the possible end of his son's marriage (totally unexpected and unwanted), Chris' back went out just bending over and picking up something (and this is in the parking lot as we are walking into our niece's baby shower), then this morning finding our cat sleeping eternally in the back yard. That was the one that caused me to snap.

It is normal to lose a pet, but Rowdy wasn't that old. He was 7 and so full of personality. He loved to roam the neighborhood (even though he didn't have anything left to prove-we took care of that). He also refused to drink water out of the bowl, choosing the faucet instead. And that had to be turned on a certain way, or he wouldn't drink from there either!

One of Rowdy's favorite things was to walk over to the dog's bowl after the dog was put into his bed for the night and eat a piece or two, the whole time watching the dog as he ate. Mocha would just watch him, you could almost see him saying, "Just wait until I get out of here" while Rowdy seemed to smile and saunter away with the regalness so well known to cats.

A couple of years ago, one of Rowdy's late night trysts almost got him killed. He managed to make it home and literally slept on the end of our bed for two days. We thought he was gone several times, but he lived to prowl another day, only losing an eye to whatever it was that happened.

Rowdy, you will be missed. Your 5 am yowl to be let out when we did manage to keep you home, your scratching on the window when you decided to come home at 6 am. Heaven must have a place for special kitties and puppies who give such joy. We will truly miss you!