Friday, March 18, 2011

Celebrating You

Dearest Lily,

Something really dawned on me lately. I realized that even though I've been parenting for 23 years...and have given birth to ten children...I'm not immune to the comparison game.

You would think I would have learned after the first few children- comparisons truly are, as they say, odious. One child might walk proficiently at ten months, while the next child is just beginning to take those first steps at 15 months. Your brother Josiah barely uttered a two syllable word until after he turned two; your sister Mackenzie had an impressive vocabulary of 50+ words at 18 months. One of your siblings was completely potty trained at 22 months old- in one week- but the exact same technique used on other children had me wondering if maybe we should buy lifetime stock in a diaper company.

I remember an old friend of ours years ago...

Anytime Daddy and I pointed out (as new parents are inclined to do) something that your brother Jason was doing, such as taking his first steps, Bruce would laugh and say, "That's nothing, my child has been doing that for 15 years!" It sort of made us realize how silly we were being, to take pride in something that eventually every typical child would learn to do.

So with this wealth of parenting experience, wouldn't you think Mommy would just smile when I watch other babies reaching developmental milestones that you haven't hit yet, and realize- they all get there eventually?


Not necessarily.

Because with that extra chromosome comes the unexpected. And while I can look to examples of older children or even adults with Down syndrome that I know of or read about, who are "high functioning", to encourage myself or fix my heart on...truthfully I have no assurance of you getting there.

And honestly, I hate that term "high functioning", if truth be told. I hate to think of life in terms of function, as if you are a product or robot to be analyzed. You're my Lily, my daughter, and I want so much for you. I don't want to wonder which end of the "spectrum" you're going to be on when you're older. I just want to enjoy this time with you as a baby, and not overanalyze every milestone or achievement.


So when I find myself playing the comparison game- even if it's just internally- I stop.

Because there's a fine line between expecting-not-accepting... and also realizing that every single person has limitations. You are not unique in that because you have Down syndrome.

And if I spend your early years weighing out every little accomplishment and wondering who you're going to be 20 years down the line... I'm going to miss out on who you are right now.


You're Lily.

You're my Lily.

Will we find things to motivate you, look for ways to challenge you, strive to do our very best to give you every possible advantage imagineable so that you can go further in life than we ever expected?

Will we celebrate milestones met, big and small, and cheer you on when you work so hard to achieve them?


But in the end, I am determining that who you are is not measured by what you can do. Your value and your worth are because you are mine, my good and perfect gift sent from Heaven.

Celebrating you,

Mama oxox


jane@flightplatformliving said...

ooo you got me again!!! tears this end and every word touched my heart, i know these thoughts, these words are mine as well. so glad we are enjoying our kids so much and not being squashed by the labels and milestones. thanks patti and lilli for this today xxx

Jessica from Germany said...

Which one is the baby?
Lily got it, the right card and she is the cutest baby!
I´m so glad for her and all of you. Thank you that we can celebrate this milestone with you. Love Lily pictures and videos! It seems Lily have won the teething battle, that makes me glad!
God bless you all.

cathy said...

you go, Lily! & Mommy, too

my goodness, she is THE CUTEST

sending lots of love & prayers

nicole said...

Oh, how awesome! I loved those cards the first time I saw them and wanted Lily to have them ~ so glad you got them for her. Little smarty pants!

Unknown said...

So, so, so true, Patti. Sometimes it is hard to remember to live in the moment, but oh my goodness it is so sweet when we do. :-)

The Holt's said...

This is beautiful!! This helps me put my situation into perspective and stop my little pity party. I am going to be blessed with the little girl that I have been praying for and she is exactly the way God intended her to be. I need to embrace that. Thanks for this post!

Lori said...

Oh Gosh, Elli and I are sitting here watching Lily and we are laughing and smiling at her and it just hit me how FAR AWAY you all are!! I so wish that Lily was more than just a picture on the screen for Elli - we miss you soooo much!! Kiss that Princess for me and tell her all about us so when we do see you she will know us!! Better yet, we need to skype more!!!

Erin said...

I love this post! I compare too, I did it with my daughter as well. I love that you said every one of your children was different. It made me realize that I have to stop comparing Luc to Nat, even if he didn't have Ds they would develop differently.

I never thought about how degrading the term "high functioning" could be. I wonder if we put those terms to "typical" children and people how hurtful it could be. And in the long run, I'm probably not that high functioning ;)

Anonymous said...

I love how you say, "Because there is a fine line between expecting- not accepting..." I needed to hear that. I also just want to enjoy Benji today and be thankful for these precious minutes right now. I agree with you about saying high functioning. It has sort of always bothered me. And God has created our children- He has a special plan for all of them. And truly, the only thing that matters in life is that we love God and serve Him with our whole hearts where He has called us to serve- that we reach out to our lost and dying world and show them the hope of Jesus. And that we walk in love. I know He will equip us to prepare our children for that call as we trust in Him.

Love watching the videos of Lily. She just melts me. Love, Cara

JC said...

I have to tell you Patti, this post is by far my favorite! It has me in tears because just this past week I have been thinking the same things when it comes to Russell. And I LOVE your music on here, its just beautiful!!

Wren said...

Such a smart girl! I love this post, it made me smile because I think about this all the time! When Sutter was younger and I wanted him to sit and then he finally did I thought I'd remember that day and how old he was for the rest of my life...I would seriously have to go back and look at pictures to figure out how old he was when he finally did it! I try and remind myself of that every time I think "he's not walking" or "when will he (fill in the blank)". The truth is he will do anything and everything he wants and the age at which he does it shouldn't matter.

Lily is amazing and just as cute as ever! :)

cathy said...

hey girlfriend....if these comments don't convince you how important what you do is, I don't know what will ;)

love & prayers

Sara said...

I love that you're so real about things. It's encouraging and uplifting. And Lily is precious as always! =)

Laura said...

So true!
I remember wishing my other children wouldn't grow up so fast! Couldn't that baby stage last a lttle longer?....And THEN God gave me one who WOULD stay little longer and have stages that would last a little (or a lot) longer. What a beautiful answer to prayer she is! I am learning to cherish these long-drawn-out stages and realize that, in that longer length of them, I am able to have time to take it all in. To see each little microstep that leads to the next milestone. It is AMAZING to watch how God designed our little ones to develop. And usually in typical children, it happens so fast that we miss the signs. Now we see them so much more clearly and it points to an orderly, Creator Father.

Amy said...

This is just lovely. And so true!

kecia said...

one of the best things I got when Bree was born is a plaque of a hand with baby feet in it and it read "the great thing about the future is it comes one day at a time" I still strive to live by that and not get caught up in all the what ifs of the future and enjoy the now!

Amy said...

Thank you - Beautifully written - as always! Please keep sharing your thoughts! Lily is a wonderful gift from God!

Just Trying Not to Blink .... said...

Great video clips! I like Lily's expression, as in "what's all the fuss about? 'Course I know where the baby is!"

Thanks for the reminder to enjoy every day of their babyhood!

Jessica from Germany said...

Good morning from Germany,
I just wanted to say something to your new playlist. The song from Twilight is original called the river flows in you by Yiruma. He is a great artist.
Kind regards Jessica

Stephanie said...

Lily is amazing! And i think i better get Miss Em some flash cards!

Ilisa Ailts said...

Patti, you are awesome. Not because you are perfect, but because you are honest. Thank you :)

CassieThompson said...

Uhm...I think lily knows she's cute! LOL.