Monday, January 16, 2012

I Have a Dream

*note to my readers...I've had this letter to Lily on my heart for weeks now, always intending to post it on Lily's birthday. On our way home from church this morning, one of my boys mentioned that they thought it was so sweet that Lily would share her birthday with Martin Luther King Day this year. I had already drafted the title of this post in my head, without even realizing the coincidence of their shared day.... I Have a Dream:)


I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

~Martin Luther King Jr. 



Dearest Lily,

It is the eve of your second birthday, and we are supposed to be at church having a party for you right now. I've spent the past week getting ready for it- ordering balloons and a special cake and decorations...everything was bright pink and green: the napkins, plates, tablecloths, streamers...I even bought you a bright pink dress to match your party and made special pink and green bows to go in your hair.


I took your brothers and sisters to the church this afternoon to decorate and prepare all the food; afterwards we raced home to get you ready. I smoothed your hair into two tight pigtails and carefully fastened your new gigantic bows to each, then slipped your tiny arms into the pink crocheted sweater that perfectly complimented your satin party dress..




Daddy was already headed to church, picking up your Uncle Joe on the way...he's in town to preach for our church, and we were all so excited that he would be here for your party. Tyler warmed the van up for several minutes before the rest of your brothers and sisters piled in. I stayed inside to grab matches for your candles and help Jackson get his shoes on -I yelled out the door that I'd be out in a second. I'm rarely this organized, and I was feeling pretty proud of myself for finally planning something down to the last detail ahead of time, instead of trying to pull everything off at the last minute.

And just as your brother Jackson and I were walking towards the door, the last of our family to exit the house, he turned to me and said, "I am soooo sick." He had been telling me he didn't feel well for the past half hour, but I just chalked it up to exhaustion after an afternoon playing in the snow. I offered him a piece of gum... and I knew we were in trouble when he turned green and said, "I can't"....and now he's lying on the floor recovering while I just finished cleaning up the aftermath.

Party postponed, kids sent on to church, and hopefully we'll be able to celebrate Monday night instead, on your actual birthday.


So while I'm sitting here with you snuggled on my lap, your thumb placed firmly in your mouth and your other arm as always, curved around my waist, I am reminded once again that life has a way of changing our plans. And I know this is just one of those little inconveniences, just a small blip on the big screen called life...so I'm wiping away my tears of frustration and writing to you instead.

I've had this letter brewing in my head for weeks now, Lily, and I hope I can put it all into words that reflect the love and hope that's in my heart for you.

For you, baby girl, because on this eve of your second birthday, I'm reflecting back on where I was two years ago. I remember that night so clearly, the night before I gave birth to you...



It was a Friday night, and my friends and family were throwing me a baby shower. Grammi and Aunt Hopie had flown in from Arizona to surprise me at my shower- I can honestly say I have never been more surprised in my life! I remember standing at the door and not recognizing them for a few seconds- I had been so busy all day with stress tests and an ultrasound, and seeing my mom and sister at my shower was the very last thing I expected. It was such a beautiful shower- delicious food, wonderful fellowship, and an abundance of sweet gifts for you: pretty pink dresses and shoes and sweaters and soft chenille blankets and stuffed toys and diapers and the gorgeous carseat we had picked out...of course I had no idea that it would be months until you were actually big enough to use that infant carseat. And even now at two years old you are just starting to fit into some of those outfits:)

I remember going to bed so late that night...your daddy and sibings had gone to sleep and I stayed up to look at all your gifts again. I held each the tiny garment and felt such joy, such anticipation at having another girl. It had been a long day- a very long day - and I remember praying that God would just let you come quickly if your life was in danger. That past week had been spent in and out of the doctor's office, because you weren't doing so well during your stress tests. Your movements had become more and more sluggish, and I was having to do hourly "kick counts" to make sure everything was okay. I was exhausted and anxious and so ready to meet you- and so ready to have you safe in my arms and know that everything was going to be okay....



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...and it was.


And although those first moments of meeting you were filled with many emotions- paradoxical emotions of joy and shock and elation and concern and relief and grief- there was grace. Love and grace to bring us through, and isn't that just like life, dearest Lily?

So I'm crying again, remembering, because we've come so far....

 

...and I am so thankful for the over-arching grace of God that carries us through our darkest nights, our greatest fears, and brings us to the other side.

I remember writing a letter to you one week after you were born. It was called I Had a Dream, and it summed up the conflicting emotions and mental gymnastics I had been going through that whole week after you were born...I was so pulled between fierce, protective love, and stabbing, painful grief, and I just wanted out of the dream. I wanted my baby girl to be free from that cursed diagnosis- Down syndrome- there was no magic in that extra chromosome, only grief.

I didn't want my baby girl to struggle in life, I didn't want anyone to make fun of you, I didn't want people to be sorry for us, that we had given birth to a baby with special needs. I just wanted to re-write the story, to press rewind and somehow go back. I wanted my Lily, but I didn't want this.

So here we are today, two years later, and I can honestly say- I have new dreams.


I have new dreams of watching you learn to walk independently some day, to ride a bike or plant a garden, play an instrument or try out for a team. I have dreams of teaching you to read...


I have dreams of cooking together and painting together, and finding out what your passions are, and helping you develop those and make the most of the talents God has given you.


I have dreams of helping you build long and lasting friendships, watching you blossom into a beautiful and Godly young lady, one who has excellent character, one who is caring and patient and loving and kind.




I have dreams of taking you to visit friends we've made through blogging, to meet orphans whom we've blogged for and raised funds for, to meet the families who've adopted those orphans, and the ones who've helped us along the way.

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I have dreams of growing old with you by my side, of watching just what God will do with this very special and very beautiful gift that He has entrusted us with....the gift of you.



And so tonight, on the eve of your birthday, I just want to tell you, darling Lily....that I love you more than life itself. I'm honored and thankful and blessed beyond belief to be your mama, and although there are still challenges to face, I can honestly say....


I have NEW dreams.



Happy Birthday, dearest Lily.


Always yours,


Mama oxoxox


**********************


Dear Readers,

I hope you've enjoyed Lily's birthday giveaway week as much as I have. I wish I had a way to give a gift to every single reader who has supported us with your love and prayers and comments and friendship. I hope that you know you much that has meant to me...

 I have just one more giveaway today, from Baby Byrds  on Etsy~ and it is a sweet one...

This customized print is perfect for your little one's nursery or big girl room. Each print will be individually designed based on your child's name. A proof will be sent for approval if desired. While I choose my colors carefully for each design, we can customize your color choices to match your room or bedding. This print is available in 8x10.

One random commenter from today's comment section will win a custom print for your little one's nursery. Of course the one I chose to display has my little girl's name on it, but Baby Byrds has the cutest collection of customized prints to choose from. Check them out!


The winner of the adorable sock monkey hat from yesterday's giveaway is....

Nicole
Happy birthday!

So here are my answers

Middle name. Anne
Born. Morning 11:54
Born on a Saturday
Weighed in at 5 lbs 8oz
Nickname lilybird
Favorite food. Popcorn
Therapist. Karen
Kenzie the midwife Claire coached her on what to do
First blog waiting for you then you changed it to waiting for lily
3 orphans Artem , Peter, Brent

Color scheme hmmmmm. Pink and brown just a guess



Congratulations, Nicole...you did such a good job on answering those questions, and the only one you got wrong was the color scheme for Lily's (postponed!) party...it is pink and GREEN..but because you got all the other answers right, you can go pick out a hat from The3MonkeysBoutique . Email me with your choice, so I can send your info to Shannon!

And the winner of the darling head wrap is...

Jennifer says...

I think I should get extra credit because I didn't look at anyone's comments before researching the answers. So I spent all afternoon reading your blog. (I just couldn't stop!) Although I suppose you should take away points since I neglected my family all afternoon to read your blog. :)
1 Anne
2 Morning (11:54 am)
3 Mackenzie
4 Saturday
5 5 pounds 8 ounces
6 Popcorn
7 Lilybird (Although you called her Lilybug in a post in March 2010 and mentioned in June 2010 that Noah and Jackson call her Lils)
8 Karen
9 Kareen (now Mia), Olga, Robyn, Brent
10 Waiting for You then Waiting for Lily
11 Not sure on this one but I would have to guess pink since that seems to be your favorite color for Lily to wear.

I hope Lily has a wonderful birthday!


Hard work pays off, Jennifer:) Email me your address so Shauna can get your new head wrap in the mail to you!!!

(and Lily wants Grammi to know she will send you a little something in the mail for getting all the answers right AND the color scheme!)

Come back tomorrow when we announce a winner...and if you think of it, please pray that yucky stomach crud stops with Jackson so that Lily can have her birthday party!!!!



Happy Birthday, Lilybird!!!!!

49 comments:

jaqy said...

How absolutely sweet of a coincidence on the "I had a dream"! I've "e-met" you through Kelle Hampton's Facebook and I have been reading your blog diligently as well now. I love how sweet Lily is, and what a wonderful family you have! My views on "Special Needs" has changed so drastically since having my own special needs child (though no magic chromosone here!); I don't even think to wish he was different... only that I can give him the best life possible :) Happy Birthday Lily!! You are truly blessed!

Jackie Mulholland said...

Happy birthday Lily! I hope all your dreams come true today and everyday!

Leah said...

Such a sweet post! Happy Birthday Lily!

Heidi Ehle said...

Happy happy birthday LilyBird!!! :) You are one very very lucky girl to have such an amazing mama! I hope that your 2 nd birthday is filled with all the wonderful things that birthdays should hold; laughter, joy, surprise, wonder, lots of love, and a really awesome cake! :)
Praying that your big brother is feeling better this morning.......
All of our love,
Heidi and Liddy

iseeyoulookingatme said...

Happy Birthday, Lily Bird! What sweet and beautiful dreams your Mama has for you.

BTW, I love that picture of Mama and daughter nose to nose!!

Nina said...

Happy Birthday sweet Lily; it is an honor to be able to share your precious life; you are a gift to all who are blessed to know you!
Love & prayers,
Nina

melissamaren said...

happy birthday, sweet lily! xoxo

Mandy said...

Happy Birthday, Lily! We love you and it's a privilege to watch you grow. Thank you, Patti for sharing your sweet little blessing with us. Love you, friend!

cathy said...

Happy , happy birthday!

xoxo
cathy, kevin
kevin, chris & cody

BEAUTIFUL post

Deanna said...

hmmmm either you're totally inside my head or we're just more alike than we've ever realized because you will see this "dream" theme again real soon on something that I've been working on as well.(-: Happy Birthday to Lilybird!

Deanna said...

also, I love that you quoted MLK. After watching The Help about a month ago, I saw this strong connection between how colored people used to be treated and how intellectual disabilities are still treated some places...

Julie said...

What a cute-toot. Happy Birthday, Lily! :)

Race Bannon said...

Happy Birthday (seriously Pat, she looks, like 6'2"...)

sasbolton said...

Happy 2nd Birthday, Lily! You are a precious gift to your family! We love your momma's blog!

Monique Rice said...

So beautiful. I love you, and Lily. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LILY!

Amy said...

Happy Happy Birthday, sweet Lily!! You are so pretty in your pink dress and adorable hair bows!! Hope your brother is feeling better soon- Evan's brother is recuperating from the same yuck.

nicole said...

At least Lilybird is feeling good! Didn't you have to cancel last year's party too? Wow, Lily, you've accomplished so much in 2 short years. It sure is fun watching you grow up. Happy Birthday!

lovemy3 said...

It must be in the air. As Hailey's first bday approaches, I have been thinking too about old dreams and new dreams. Lily is absolutely beautiful and I look forward to "watching" her grow :-) Hope everyone is feeling better soon!!!

Mrs. K said...

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY PRECIOUS LILY ANNE!!!!

Please give Jackson a hug from Grammi and tell him Grammi praying he is 100% better today.

xoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxooooxxxxooooxoxoo

Alaina and Kyle said...

Loved the post! Happy Birthday from Washington!!

Jonana said...

Happy Birthday, sweet Lily! Two is so big! And poor, poor Jackson...I hope he's feeling better and that this was just an isolated thing instead of spreading to everybody.

aimee said...

Happy Birthday Lily!! Hope everyone gets to feeling 100% so you can party tonight!!

sunnylattegma said...

Happy Birthday sweet Lily! I think every day with you may be a great day for a party!

Sky said...

Lily is so precious!

gretchen said...

Patti,
I love you. That is all :)

gretchen

Leah said...

Happy Birthday, beautiful Lily girl! You are one sweet blessing indeed. Patti, this is such a moving post. Thank you for sharing your gift of Lily with us all.

Jessica Rudder said...

Happy Birthday, Lily! Two is an awesome age of discovering things about yourself and testing boundaries (sometimes to parents' dismay).

I hope it's a fantastic year for you. :)

Shauna said...

what is up with you always changing Lily's birthday partys? Hope he feels better soon! Happy Birthday Lilybird, you look so cute in your dress!

Jennifer said...

Happy Birthday Lily!! She looks so adorable. I hope everyone is feeling better and it is a great day for Lily. Loved the post Patti.

Becca said...

Happy birthday, beautiful Lily!!! Hope Jackson's feeling better...

Loved this post, Patti - absolutely beautiful, just like your littlest princess. :-)

Shannon said...

Happy Birthday Lilybird! You are a precious gift and I am so glad your mommy shares your sweet life with all of us. Go get your party on tonight! Hope the household stays healthy.

Susanna said...

Oh she is SO BEAUTIFUL!!!

Jennifer said...

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Lily, happy birthday to YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope your day is full of fun!!! Thanks for having it snow on your birthday!!!! :)

patsy said...

happy, happy day miss lily! we feel so blessed to have 'met' you and your momma and your whole family and can't wait to watch you grow up :)

Ashley said...

Beautiful, beautiful post! Happy birthday, Lily! I love you so much and miss you xoxo

Regina said...

Happy Birthday Lily! You look so beautiful all dressed up.

Mary said...

Happy Birthday to your beautiful little girl!!!! I found your blog after seeing your comment on a pro-life story today :) glad I did, it's inspirational!

Jenny said...

I just don't think she could look any sweeter, what a beautiful little Birthday outfit!! Happy Birthday Lily, we love you!!

Beautiful post Patti.

Melissa said...

Happy 2nd Birthday Sweet Lily!

nicole said...

Happy birthday lily! I hope Jackson is feeling better! You are so beautiful in your pink dress and I love your hair bow!!!

Nicole
Nmills25@verizon.net

Lori said...

Happy Birthday Lily - You look so pretty!! Tell Jack - and your mommy that I hope they feel better soon and I am so sorry about all the yucky sickness!!

Sarai said...

Happy birthday Lilly. And tell tour brother to feel better soon!! Your dress is absolutely beautiful!

teal915 said...

Happy birthday, Lily! You're smile truly makes the world a brighter place.

To Love Endlessly said...

Happy Birthday Lily! What a beautiful birth story! 2 year and looks how far you've come baby girl!

cara said...

Happy, happy birthday Lily!!! These pictures could not get more beautiful. LOVE your birthday dress!! I am hoping you had a party tonight and that flu bug is out of that house. We are praying. Love you!

Justine said...

Beautiful post and a beautiful girl! Hope your little man is feeling better and no one else is sick. Happy Birthday Lily!!!

J is for Joy!

Naomi Rice said...

Post was super sweet... her birth seems like forever ago, but kenz feels like it was just yesterday. She has come so far.. Happy Birthday baby girl from you big (added into the family) sister! By the way, I LOVE that picture of you and Lily looking at each other.. So so beautiful! Hope you and Jack are better! Hope we can have the party tonight. Miss you (and your lovely piano playing!!)
xoxoxxo

Nina said...

Patti, the occasional meltdowns are totally understandable as we all want so much for our children. It has helped me to remind myself that they will all do what they're supposed to do, according to God's will for them in His time frame, not ours'. Until my precious granddaughter was born I never realized the great significance of the word, "yet". Lily isn't talking... yet.. but she will. She might not be walking...yet...but she will, all in His timing. Happy Birthday, precious Lily; continued blessings on your beautiful family.

♥AdamAlexMommy♥ said...

awwww.... your lily is beautiful. enjoyed looking at her photos, and you are a good photographer. :) happy birthday to your little one, and i am following now. happy wknd!
xoxo
jasmine
http://adamalexmommy.com