Sunday, July 11, 2010

To Those Who Love Lily

Dear Friends,

I started this blog when I was pregnant with Lily, in the form of letters to her. It wasn't meant to be a public blog at first, but just a mommy writing to her little girl. I have always kept journals during my pregnancies, as a way of keeping track of my symptoms, feelings, doctor visits, etc., so that I could compare each pregnancy. ..and also because I love to journal. It is therapy for me- when I just don't know how to deal with life, it has always helped me to "get it all out" through writing.

When I became pregnant with Lily, I started a journal to her in a notebook, just as I had with my other babies. Around my fifth month, when we learned that there were some medical concerns, I started this blog. I wanted my family to be able to come here to read about updates concerning Lily, so that I didn't have to repeat every doctor visit in multiple phone calls, emails, etc. This way, if people were interested in all the details of my pregnancy, they could come here for information..and if not, well, that was okay too. I just needed a place to record everything, and if people wanted to come along for the ride, that was wonderful.

I had intended on ending Lily's journal when she was born- just as I did my other pregnancy journals. But when we received the diagnosis of Down syndrome, I found myself needing this place more than ever- as a way of once again "getting it all out". If you've followed Lily's story for awhile, you know I am pretty transparent. I write about every emotion I am feeling- the good, the bad, and the ugly. I don't see things through rose-colored glasses- sometimes life just hurts. But there is also incredible beauty in the midst of our darkest moments, and I hope that my writing testifies to that just as strongly. I have received criticism from some for being too honest at times..but my letters to Lily are really just to her, and not to anyone else. And sometimes the truth is a little painful, and often it shows just how far I have to grow as a mommy, a person, and as a child of God. I'm all too aware of my faults in all three of those areas- thank God for the blood of Jesus that cleanses me, and thank God for His grace and strength when I am weak and flawed.

As a mommy, I want so much to be able to connect to Lily- I want her to know my heart like I know hers. I want to have intimate conversations with her some day, I want her to be able to relate to me at every level. And honestly, I don't know that that will ever be possible. I don't know what the future holds for Lily. I do know that I love her with all my heart, and I will pray and do everything in my power to help her be all that she can be. I want so much for her. I hope with all of my heart that she exceeds all our expectations. I guess in some ways, this blog is my way of connecting to Lily. One thing I do know- in Heaven, Lily will be whole. And I hope God saves my letters to her, so she can read them and know what we went through together.

So dear friends, tonight this letter is not to Lily, but to you.

It is to every family member, friend, and loved one who has prayed for Lily, loved her, held her, sent words of encouragement, and gifts, and letters, and followed her story. It is to strangers across the world, who have found your way here through other friends or blogs or word of mouth. It is to other mommies of babies with that magical extra chromosome, who have inspired me through your stories, who have gone before us and paved the way for a better journey into Holland and all its beauty.

From the bottom of my heart- thank you. You held my heart when it was close to breaking, you comforted me with your love for and acceptance of Lily, you changed me because of your unconditional love. You might never know what your love for Lily has meant to me- how it helped me know everything was going to be alright, because at the end of the day, we are loved. Having Lily and seeing your responses- an outpouring of genuine concern and care and love and emotion- has touched me beyond anything I have ever experienced. I am so humbled by the support you have given us, and I can't thank you enough.
You held my baby and told me she was beautiful. You don't know what the meant to me. You smiled at her, and told us what a gift she is. You rejoiced with us and didn't say "I'm sorry" when you heard about her diagnosis. You said "Congratulations!" when she was born, and you celebrated with us. You prayed for Lily and believed God with us that her heart would be healed- and it was! You asked to see her, kissed her, smiled at her, commented on how much she looked like my other babies. You treated her as a normal baby, and not a tragedy.
Sam and I just spent a week in Prescott, Arizona at our semi-annual Bible conference. I was overwhelmed at how many of you wanted to see Lily. You asked to hold her, told me how much you've prayed for her, told me how her story has ministered to you in some way. You loved my baby, and you'll never know until eternity what that means to this little mama.

Dearest friends...Nikki, Megan, Keri Jo, Casey, Karen, Sherry, Sally, Rachel, Carrie, Heather, Emily, Becca, Kaitie, Joe, Joey, Lerin, Helene, Erich, Kathy, Angie, Grandpa Dennis, Grandma Linda, Kerry, Michelle, Sophie, Anne of Alamo, Claire, Jenise, Dan, Peggy, Monica, Socorro, Marjiene, Jayrell, Dennis and Cindy... your kindness this past week was sweetness to my soul.
Thank you for loving my Lily.
I love you,
Patti oxox


Uncle said...

I hope I'm the first to comment. I just want to say, that I think she is exceptional. What five-month-old, yet alone newborn, can read a blog? I know adults, ADULTS, who can't even log-on! ("Can you invite me again?", "Can you e-blog me your mail again?", come on people!) Maybe I don't 'understand' things you write, or 'pay attention' to your really, really long paragraphs...but I 'get it', I really 'get it.'
Love ya sis!

Kelly Marin said...

Oh Patty that this post is so awesome, and once again my eyes are all teary eyed reading this. I think reading, and praying for Lily and your whole family has really opened my eyes up on what it is like having a child with ds. I know that I'm much more observant with other people who have children with ds, but its really awesome because I've had some neat conversations with these familys and everyone of them have such beautiful children. Lily is so gorgeous and my whole family loves seeing pictures of her and everyone else for that matter. Thank you for letting us be apart of this journey.

Kelly Marin said...

Once again Patty you've done it again, I'm reading your blog and getting all teary eyed. I really appreciate this last blog, Thank you for letting us share in this journey of yours. Lily is so precious and beautiful, and we all love looking at pictures of her and reading about her accomplishments. When ever I see parents with children that have ds I always try to talk to them, admire their kids,etc... and I am a richer person for that. Thanks to Lily, You've all widened our perspectives. Praying for you guys always,

CassieThompson said...

Patti- I wanted to comment really quick as my little bella is starting to cry. I wanted to let you know that I just read your post. I am nearly in tears. I love love love lily she is so beautiful and even more beautiful is the way that you and your family look at her as such a blessing instead of burden. You have a beautiful heart.

Brunner Family said...

Oh Patti ~ It was so good to meet your beautiful "Lilybird" and YOU in person!! I was so happy to connect and chat with you. Love your blogs and I'm so enjoying getting to "know" your family thru your fabulous writing!! That Lily is a cute little peanut and what a testimony to God's goodness!!

Brunner Family said...

PS - What is it that so warms a mother's heart when others truly love her "babies"? Another unexpected facet of motherhood....

OH - and I have meant to tell you awhile back.... When you posted about "it" happening for the first time (you felt someone was looking at Lily "differently"). It was about 2 weeks before you posted that and I was reading to my kids before bed (well...reading to Nolan and nursing Laura) and I had this sudden sensation that there may be kids/people that would some day be "mean" to my kids. It suddenly made my heart ache and I had this overwhelming sensation of wishing I would be able to shelter and protect them from that for life. So, I SO know what you felt... and find it normal as a mother to feel that way.... regardless if they have "disabilities" or not!!! (btw - my favorite bumper sticker: Mean People Suck - it means more to me now than ever!) LOL - it just captured that feeling for me..... Love ya!!!!!

Grafted Branch said...

She's bigger! And more beautiful (if that's possible) everytime I check in here, Patti.

I lost you on Facebook. :( Did you close your account?

Keri Jo Wohlwend said...

I WAS kind of panicing by Friday when I still hadn't found you at conference! I'm SO glad I got to see her in person and see just how adorable she is. I loved her painted toesies. I just wish we could've had more chance to talk so I could snuggle her for a few minutes. Alyssa loved her and Trev was bummed he missed her too. Casey keeps saying that these blog pictures just don't do her justice to how CUTE she was in person! He also mentioned how the blog pictures make your older boys look SO tall and when he saw they were about his height he was feeling pretty good about himself! HA HA