Thursday, September 27, 2012

what are you hoping for

 "What are you hoping for?"

It's a question I've been asked a hundred times during my pregnancies over the years. For the most part my answer was always the same- a healthy baby. Even if I was secretly hoping for a girl - ten years ago today I was indeed thrilled to deliver my second girl after having given birth to five boys - I would still reply with the standard line: "we just want a healthy baby."

It was as if I thought I was jinxing my chances for having a healthy baby if I said what I really wanted- a little sister for Mackenzie, or another boy because I'm so partial to baby blue. So I'd state my one requirement, an answer to a question, and a little prayer to God...a healthy baby, that's all I'm hoping for.

And isn't that what we all hope for anyway? A baby without defects, one who arrives in life without any challenges, perfect by medical standards at least, even if they don't end up on the next Gerber baby ad.

Because who hopes for a baby with a syndrome?

And right up there with that spoken hope - the one for a healthy baby- was my unspoken one. The one that wanted my babies to be smart. Of course they didn't have to grow up to be geniuses, but definitely somewhere in the "above average" zone. I wanted my kids to be the best at whatever they set their minds to, I wanted them to excel in life and to learn well. "Gifted" "talented" and "bright" - those were words I wanted my children associated with. Never in my prayers or hopes or dreams did I imagine that "mild to moderate cognitive delays" or "learning impaired" were phrases someone might use to describe my child.

And perhaps hidden even deeper in that list of things hoped for- maybe buried underneath the avalanche of universal wishes for one's baby, such as blond hair or blue eyes or her Daddy's smile - I wanted her to be able to read. 

Not quite as profound a wish as others, maybe a little bit more specific than hoping she'd do well in school- I wanted her to share my passion for books. From the time I was old enough to hold them in my hands, books have been my best friends. They've opened up new worlds to me, they've taken me to places I'll probably never physically go, and if life ever gets so overwhelming that I want to scream, I have a proven fail-safe method for de-stressing: go curl up in the corner with a good book.

So when Lily was born, in the midst of all the little dreams I tucked away in a box called "do not open again" was one that I really thought had died ~ reading. I wrote about it, cried about it, and I honestly believed this one little hope was something I had to deliberately let go of.

But Lily....

...has a mind of her own.

And thankfully she hasn't been hindered by any low expectations on her Mama's part. Because just like all of her older siblings, she has a love - no - a PASSION for books.

She loves her baby dolls, her toy house, her fake cell phone and her purses, but a dozen times a day, on any given day, Lily gravitates to her books. She turns the pages slowly and carefully, she "reads" the words out loud to herself, "lalalalalala", the cadence of her voice changing as the story unfolds. She points to pictures and laughs at them, holds the book up for us to see, reads each one from cover to cover and starts over again. She takes her siblings by the hand and pulls them over to the couch, hands them one of her favorite stories and climbs up onto their laps to read. There isn't a day that goes by that Lily doesn't lose herself in one of her books, and when she's sad or sick or- yes, I'll say it, stressed -  she's found the cure that works for Mama, and curling up in the corner with a good book works for her too.

I don't have any doubt that Lily will one day learn to read. Because I peeked into that dream box - the one labeled "do not open again" - and to my amazement, it was empty. Along with so many hopes I had quietly hidden away there, the dream that she'd share my love for books is now becoming a reality. The very things I thought she couldn't or wouldn't do are what our days are made of, and it's a wonderful thing to behold.

 The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

my favorite day

Today was my favorite day.

Have you ever had one of those days where you woke up and had this nice feeling that things were going to be good, and then the day just delivered? I had one of those today.

It started out with just me and her....


...spending an hour of alone time together, before everyone else woke up. I got Lily dressed for the day, put her hair up in pigtails, and snapped this pic in our sunroom as the morning sun began its ascent into the blue, blue sky. Just a quick pic on my new iphone (don't forget to follow us on instagram at aperfectlily!) and I think it's my favorite pic ever ~ perfect to go with the day.

And it just got better from there.

Lily had therapy this morning and said a kajillion new words. She was a little sleepy after getting up early with me, but she hung in there like a champ and impressed Karen with her new verbal skills. Lots of hard work is starting to pay off, and I absolutely love watching my little Lily blossom. She's going to be talking up a storm by this time next year.

She fell asleep in my arms as Karen said goodbye, and then Sam came home to take me out to lunch - my favorite food on the planet, Hawaiian. We shared a blahlah plate in central park and talked about how well Lily did at therapy. We soaked up the sun and relaxed and enjoyed time alone...another notch in my favorite day belt. He dropped me off at home where I joined Lily for the rest of her afternoon nap, promising the kids we would go on a nice walk when we woke up.

Did I mention it was my favorite day???

Sam and I have been taking evening walks since we moved to this neighborhood. There are gorgeous walking trails looping in between houses and weaving through the forest, and we're discovering new ones every week. One evening I saw this perfect little meadow nestled between several houses, just off one of the trails. I made a mental note to bring the children back to play, so today we packed up a football and water bottles for the kids, cheerios and a sippy cup for Lily, and headed to the meadow...

...and if I told you we enjoyed a perfect afternoon to go along with our favorite day, would you believe me?

Okay, so maybe today wasn't everyone's favorite day.

But it was mine!

The older boys played football while Lily, Abbi, Jack and I stretched out on the quilt and watched. Jack had begged me to bring apples from home, but we didn't have any and I didn't want to run to the in keeping with the perfection of the day, the meadow delivered as well...

...they ate apples to their hearts' content.

*Lily preferred cheerios

As a side note- these pictures don't even do that meadow justice. I actually had to de-saturate them a little bit in Lightroom, because the colors were so vibrant. I have always been a nature lover, but as I've gotten older I'm convinced I was a tree worshiper in a previous life. Except I don't believe in reincarnation. Or worshiping trees. But still....I love them.

Like really love them.


Moving on....

...we worked on Lily's tactile/sensory/grass issues. didn't go so well.

But that's okay, because we weren't going to let a little thing like tactile/sensory/grass issues get in the way of our favorite day.

And anyway, that's what quilts are for.

We spent a lovely golden hour in the meadow before heading home again.
As the sun began to set and my beloved trees cast long shadows on the sidewalk, we packed up our belongings and vowed to return another day.

We had pancakes for dinner and enjoyed a relaxing evening at home...


Today was my favorite day.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I wasn't prepared

I wasn't prepared for you....

I wasn't prepared for the way one sweet glance from you would make me want to stop everything I was doing and scoop you up in my arms for the rest of the day.

I wasn't prepared for you....

I wasn't prepared for those eyes- the kind that can speak a thousand words, that sparkle with stars and shine brighter than the sun on days when I need it most.

I wasn't prepared for you...

I wasn't prepared for the connection I would feel with you, the one that makes me feel like a part of me is missing when you're sleeping and comes alive again when you wake up.

I wasn't prepared for you....

I wasn't prepared for the way you would fit just perfectly into our family, how you would wrap every one of your siblings around your finger, how totally complete you would make our family feel.

I wasn't prepared for you...

I wasn't prepared for how easily the words would roll off my lips two and a half years later -why yes, she does have Down syndrome - in response to a stranger's question...and how totally at ease I would feel with it. I wasn't prepared for the pride I would feel when I told that same stranger that you are amazing us constantly with all that you do, and how much I wish everybody could experience the joy we do   ....because of you.

I wasn't prepared for you !

Sunday, September 23, 2012


If you started following aperfectlily on Instagram this weekend, you got treated to these.....










If you didn't, what are you waiting for?? Come follow us ! aperfectlily

Don't worry, if you don't have an iPhone you can still come here for your Lily fix.

And until someone invents Instavideo, you can keep coming back here for exclusive snippets like this....

 Happy Monday !!