I have a guest blogger today:)
I asked my sister Karla if she would write something from her perspective about Jake. I left it wide open, and I think she did an amazing job of sharing her heart. She is an amazing mom of 5 boys, and even with 5 boys she had time to sit down and write a blog for me:)
I am forever grateful for her friendship, for our families’ relationships, and for her undying love and support.
Happiness and Hope.
I have started this blog post many times now and then have deleted and then re-started and then deleted and then re-started again, the pressure to keep up to my sister is very daunting, also the pressure to say the exact right thing so that the world knows all my most intimate thoughts about my feelings and emotions about my nephew Jake, and also being an auntie to the three most amazing boys! I decided however, it was better to abandon my efforts to keep up to Karyn (that’s never worked, even when we were children!!) and to simply share my heart.
The day that Jake was born was one of the happiest, most anticipated days of my life. I had five boys of my own and was privileged to have my sister be the best auntie ever to my kids, and I was very excited to be able to start returning the favor. I wanted to be able to buy loud, annoying toys and then go home when they were repeatedly played with, I wanted to be able to give candy and sugar treats and then leave when the sugar meltdown hit, I wanted to be able to laugh at stubborn behavior instead of having to discipline it, really this was going to be awesome!!
Throughout Karyn’s pregnancy she was, how do I put it nicely, a little bit of a hypochondriac, except it went past just for herself, but also to this unborn baby. Her and her baby conceived pretty much every disorder and disease that they could possibly have, all unfounded of course. It came the pattern to tell Karyn she was crazy and that her baby was perfect and for heaven’s sake just settle down. So, when she came to us and told us she was pretty sure her baby had Down syndrome, we pretty much treated that the same way we had treated every other thing she was sure her baby had, we told her she was crazy and why would she possibly think that, her baby was going to be perfect and to stop all the needless worrying.
Fast forward to the day that Jake was born, he was a little early, and quite tiny, so they needed to immediately take him to the NICU and since Curtis went with him I got the privilege of sitting in the recovery room with my sister and my mom and being able to spend some sweet time with Karyn right after her surgery. We talked about how perfect her baby was, and how I couldn’t wait to see him. Later that night, I drove home with Curtis, I will never forget the moment that he looked at me in the car at 2:30am and said, Karla, the doctors are pretty sure that Jake has Down syndrome, and worse even, Karyn didn’t know yet.
But do you want to know something, my very first thought when he said that was not one of, oh no, how could this happen, or, what are we going to do, or, that I was even devastated, I was sad yes, but for Karyn and Curtis and the vision of what they thought they were going to have that had so drastically been altered, not for myself. I felt happiness, I had a nephew, my beautiful sister had given birth to a beautiful, perfect, amazing baby that was going to bring so much to our family. I felt joy that my five boys were going to have a boy cousin to laugh with, to play with, and to grow up loving and protecting fiercely. I felt hope that Jake couldn’t have possibly been born into a better family, with parents that were going to be absolutely amazing and truly, honestly, this is the truth, I know there are moments of heartache for Karyn and Curtis, but Jake could not have better parents, and I knew this right from the moment he was born.
The next morning as I held my sobbing sister in my arms I had hope, hope for what was to come, because there may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning, and I had hope for the joy that was coming in the morning. And when I went into the NICU and saw that tiny baby in his isolette laying there, all I saw was Jake, I didn’t see a diagnosis, or a disability, I saw my perfect, amazing nephew that I loved with all my heart.
Today my sweet nephew Jake is 3 1/2 years old and has been joined by two other amazing little brothers, and my heart hasn’t changed at all. I have only gained happiness from having Jake in my life, I have been privileged to see his infectious smile, to hear his joyful squeals, to watch him meet milestone after milestone and conquer them all, to see him sign my name, and more recently hear him say my name with joy and glee, to scream in delight when he sees his cousins and know that he is treasured and loved beyond measure. I have only gained happiness from watching my five boys rally around Jake and seek understanding and grow in compassion and acceptance and then turn and teach their peers to do the same. I have gained happiness from spending countless family dinners, outings, playtimes, holidays, birthdays together and watching Jake be just like all the other boys in our family, he is treated with love, (sometimes smothering love from my kids), kindness and respect. So, I have only gained from having Jake in my life, he is a perfect creation, exactly the way God intended him to be, and I am blessed beyond all measure to be a small part of his story.