Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Living Room Dance Party

Dear Lisa,

It's going to be all right.

Yes, my dear, some of your fears will come true. The diagnosis you're so afraid of right now - cerebral palsy - will be a part of your life, as will a handful of others...hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, microcephaly, cortical visual impairment, pervasive developmental disorder, gastroparesis, and gastro esphophageal reflux disease.

And you know what? None of it really matters. Sure, you've just gone through a life-altering event. No one in your family will ever be the same.  But, your life isn't defined by diagnoses.  It's defined by the love you have for one another and the time you spend together. It's defined by dance parties in the living room.

If you could see yourself on a night three and a half years from now, I think you'd realize that you have an amazing life and that things are more than all right.

On this particular night, you've just discovered that your son likes to dance to top 40 music. You, your husband, and your precious Elijah are pounding your feet around the living room, clapping your hands, and squealing with joy. Tears wet your cheeks from laughing so hard. Joy fills the air intermixed with the beat of the music.

And even in the midst of all of this, during those moments where you are able to sit down on the chocolate brown couch and watch your two favorite men, you will think of the younger version of yourself.  You will remember sitting on this very couch after bringing Elijah home from the hospital.  You will think, "If only she could see me now.  I think she'd know that it's going to be all right."

You'll be brought back to the present at the sight of your husband scooping up Elijah from the floor and spinning around. Squeals of delight and laughter. All three of us, our tummies hurting from our joy. Your life, Lisa, is a delicate mixture of love and grief and pain and joy. It's a beautiful dance.

Your breath is fast and labored, but slowly you put your feet back on the floor again. And you dance to music with questionable lyrics and laugh.

It's going to be all right, Lisa. It really, really is.


If you could write a letter to your younger self, would you? I'm not sure that I would, but this popped into my head this week as we discovered that Elijah likes rap music :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Just When You Might Think...

"Hey, winter is finally over!"
It's not.
You do realize that you live in Minnesota, right?
Oh, you don't live in MN?
Well, we do.
Just when I was thinking we were done with snow, just when I was starting to see our grass again, just when I was thinking it was time to pack away our winter stuff - it snowed.
Big time.
So out we went to play. We might as well take advantage of the white stuff while we still can, I say. I'm a cup-half-full kind of gal, after all.
Apparently, so is our son.
I mean, how often does one get to leave the first footprints in the snow? (It's not often).
I won't be packing away our winter stuff just yet. I'm pretty sure if I do, it's guaranteed to snow.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


My kitchen looks a lot like this these days. Drawers and cabinets are always askew. 
Why would it be like this? 

Because our little man has learned a new skill - the opening and closing of things. I hear whoosh-SLAM, whoosh-SLAM multiple times a day. It's his obsession, a new exciting skill. 
And although I'm getting kind of sick of hearing my drawers slam multiple times a day, I am really proud of the little dude.  He's got skills, yo.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

She Loves Him So

About a month ago we went to visit family and I keep thinking about this one thing: how much our niece Eden adores her cousin Elijah. It makes me melt.
This is Eden
I'm always so thrilled to see Eden, so I'll start waving and saying her name when she's in sight. She looks past me to her cousin and says his name instead. I do believe his name was probably one of her first words.  "Jijah!" she exclaims. "Jijah!" whenever she sees her beloved cousin.

Oh, she loves him so.

One morning, Grandma was feeding Elijah when Eden crawled into her lap to be part of the action. Grandma did as is often the case in feeding Elijah - a mixture of scooping and wiping and repeating. Eden was watching and soon there was a lull in activity.

So Eden picked up the wash cloth and wiped Elijah's face.  And then wiped her own.

Oh, she loves him so. 

This little moment keeps playing over and over again in my mind. It was just so sweet, so tender.
Big E and Little E playing together on Thanksgiving
Even though Elijah practically runs her over whenever he passes her by, doesn't really share his toys, has tried to step on her, and for the most part ignores her - she loves him. Adores him, in fact. She's more excited to see him than anyone else it seems.
This is Henry
This is something that thrills me - the prospect of built-in friends in his cousins (and hopefully future siblings, but that's a subject for another day). He's blessed to have two (three) amazing cousins - Henry who's almost two, Eden who's one and a half, and one little girl on the way.  These little people are Elijah's future.  The peers who will know him the most, who will hopefully look out for him, and accept him for who he is.  I know it won't always be perfect.  I'm dreading the time when little Eden will start noticing that Elijah is different. I know the adoration will fade some.

I can only hope that the little girl who would be willing to wipe Elijah's mouth will always be willing to look out for him. I believe she will, along with Henry, along with the little girl to come, along with the children who are only hopes in our hearts. I believe they all will. I really, really do.
E and H playing together on Thanksgiving
Thanks for raising some really amazing and compassionate kiddos, my sibs. It means more to me than I can express. Truly.
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