As I mentioned yesterday, I am excited to welcome Krista here to share my blog today. Krista and I went to college together but our friendship really began through our food group where we made great food, ate that great food and talked about…other great food. I have asked Krista to talk a little about her journey as a mama today. Krista has also given me the honor of sharing One Beautiful Life today. Thanks for joining me, Krista!
I remember vividly , the first days of Ella’s life. I remember holding my baby girl in the quiet moments with uncertainty in my heart, celebrating that God had given me a little girl but mourning the ideals I dreamt about as a mother. You see Ella, was born with Trisomy21 or as it is more commonly known, Down Syndrome, but they were unable to confirm this until she was almost three weeks old, so for the first days of her life, it was like a little secret that her and I shared because a momma knows when she looks in her baby’s face and something is not quite right… and honestly…. I was heartbroken. I grieved the tainted images I had in my head of ballet recitals, highschool graduation, a wedding, grandchildren, the list goes on. I feared what I did not know and the number 40 kept flashing in neon lights: life expectancy.
Everyday however, Ella reminds me what a fool I was. The tears I shed were for what I did not know, and now that I know, I am put to shame. Because to be honest, raising Ella is not a life of mourning but of pure joy. For two and a half years she has brought a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. Her unadulterated perception of the world is a breath of fresh air. Most days, I forget about her inabilities and instead am captivated by her ability to encourage everyone she meets. Most days, she requires the same love, provision and discipline as her older brother as she processes the world around her. She has learned to walk, to feed herself, to feed her babies and while we are a bit more versed in medical terminology and therapeutic methods, the extraordinary is only fraction of our rather ordinary, daily lives.
Even when I have subconsciously placed limitations on my daughter she always makes sure to set me straight. One of my favourite things to do with my older son, Jakob, is bake. It is something beautiful that we can do together while I teach the life lesson of how to follow a recipe, count and measure. For some reason, I had not done this with Ella. Quite frankly, I didn’t think she would be able to do it. I didn’t think she was ready and I wondered if she would ever be able to help me like Jakob does. To be honest, I didn’t even think she would be able to handle standing on a chair at the counter. If you saw her move, you would realize how ridiculous these thoughts were. So yesterday, when I asked her if she would want to help me make biscuits she confidently said, “Yah!”
She was an all-star! She stirred the ingredients, put the butter and milk in and helped cut out heart-shaped scones for tea. She was a great little helper and she put me to shame. She reminded me that she is a perfectly normal little two year old and the only thing wrong with her is the stereotypes and limitations that society, and I, myself place on her.
If I were I to sum up what it is like to parent a child with a disability I would say it is altered-expectations. We have been taught by “professionals” what to expect by 6 month or two years or by the time they finish highschool, but it does not mean we have to subscribe to them and it does not mean that they are right. That is beauty of individuals with Down Syndrome, or Autism, or Cystic Fibrosis: they take what the world is so certain of and remind us that God is the creator, and he knew what he was doing. They are not mistakes, they are not unwanted, they are children of God. Sure, there are realities that we will have to face that others may not but mothering a child with a disability is more the same than different, as are the child we care for.
Life is meant to be shared. We are not called to struggle in solitude or rejoice silently, but as a community celebrate the beauty in this One Beautiful Life. I am, like so many of you, a woman, a wife, a mother and a friend and have been given a voice. A voice to reach out, a voice to stand up for what I believe in and a voice to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. I write to inspire and encourage as I share my passion for food, photography, travel, children with special needs and all other beautiful blessings in this life. So come on over and take a look! Let’s share this One Beautiful Life together.
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