In keeping with the theme of Fridays, I am so excited this morning to have another guest blogger who is willing to share her heart with you, and present a different and fresh perspective!
Merissa and I have been friends for ages, truly too long to remember!! (dont you just love friends like that? The ones where you can remember the beginning of the friendship if you try really hard and count back dates, but really it just seems like they’ve always been a part of your life and that’s the way you like it!) Like my friend Julie from last week, Merissa has walked with me (and I with her) through many of the ups and downs of life. I am so blessed by her presence and influence in my life, and in my family’s life. Thank you Mer for agreeing to do this for me…you rock!!
We don’t get to pick our parents. When we come into this world, we come in completely vulnerable. We can’t feed ourselves. We can’t clean ourselves. And we certainly can’t do anything to ensure our own survival.
We enter the world bloody and screaming, healthy or unhealthy… and two human beings (or sometimes just one) are responsible for our entire wellbeing. We get no say in the matter.
But I truly believe that there is a God who does.
I remember getting the phone call from Karyn the evening after Jake was born. We had walked through 8 years of friendship at that point and as she had become one of my best friends (she still is!), I couldn’t wait to hear how her first labour went. I was so excited to hear her voice.
Her voice was quiet: “Merissa, Jake has Down syndrome”.
For the next while on the phone, we cried together. We were silent together.
A week or so later, the women in the Slaters’ life came together and held a beautiful baby shower for Jake. I watched as a couple dozen women spoke into Karyn’s life. The predominant message was this: God did not make a mistake in blessing this tiny little boy with Karyn and Curtis as his parents. They are a special couple, chosen by God to guard, protect, nurture and grow this beautiful little son of theirs.
I got to hold Jake for the first time 6 weeks after his birth, when he finally came home from the NICU. As I held that little guy in my arms – his little head no bigger than a small orange, and his little hand barely wrapped around my finger – I couldn’t help but weep.
I cried not because I was sad, but because I knew I was holding a promise in my arms. A promise from God that He had provided Jake with everything he needs in this world. I also felt so blessed to meet Jake.
Karyn and Curtis love their kids – not just the feeling, but in the way that they live. In the four years since, I have seen Karyn, a lover of justice, advocate on behalf of her son in his vulnerability. I have seen her grow greatly as a mother. She possesses a love that is fierce and encompassing. And it shows.
Karyn and Curtis have taught Jake how to communicate his feelings and needs. Curtis works extremely hard to provide for Jake and the rest of the Slater family. He is so loved and respected by his little boys. When I am at the Slater’s when Curtis comes home from work, every time – without fail – all three boys will run full-speed to hug their dad as he walks through the door, yelling “DADDY!” It brings a smile to my face every time.
Together Curtis and Karyn have also sought out resources for Jake’s growth and development that I never even knew existed! They have spent countless sleepless nights making sure Jake feels safe while he is in the hospital with breathing troubles, or at home when he is pulling off that uncomfortable c-pap mask (or eating it).
I can only thank God for how He has gifted Jake with Curtis and Karyn as parents. He has scored big-time!
And I have scored big-time too. God has given me the chance to be part of the journey with them.