“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart.. I'll always be with you.”
~A.A. Milne, from "Winnie the Pooh"

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Things I Have Learned From My Kids

Dearest Bug,
I have been blessed to give birth three times now. I brought into the world three unique individuals, each with their own gifts, talents and personalities. Each of you has features the same, but you all look different. And every one of you has taught me something different.....
The baby I named Angelica Renee, meaning "Of the angels." My first born. My first taste of what it means to have my heart separated from my body. For many years, the source of both my greatest joy  and also my greatest pain.

Being a pregnant teenager was hard. But I watched in overwhelmed awe as God used her as an instrument for His glory. I heard the voice of God so clearly for the first time in my life, and I, who never obeyed any one willingly, fell to my knees and surrendered the thing that meant the most to me...my daughter. She taught me to have convictions. She taught me that sometimes it isn't easy to do the right thing. She taught me that pain refines you, makes you stronger and wiser. She taught me that I have demons that plague me too, but she was also the reason I continued to fight them. She taught me that patience is a virtue (one that I don't always possess). From her pictures, I grew to know that she was GORGEOUS, funny, smart, talented, and she has an absolutely heart-stopping beautiful smile.

I know that ,so far, out of all of my kids, she is the one who acts and looks the most like me. Nature vs. nurture, my rear. ;) And throughout her life, while I have watched from afar, she has taught me the beauty of loving someone enough to let them go...knowing without a doubt they will be returned to you. I have so many hopes and dreams for this girl. She was named Angel for a reason, even if neither of us know what that reason is just yet.
Caleb. My second child. Named from the Bible, a name meaning "faith, devotion, whole hearted." A big name to live up to, but most of the time he does! Born three short years after Angelica, but after what seems sometimes a lifetime of walking through darkness. He, quite literally, saved me from myself just by existing. My first real taste of being a mommy, instead of just a mother. Scraped knees, dirty face, big blue eyes, and an infectious giggle. He is  nearly a genius in math, can play three instruments, and is darn near 5 inches taller than me at 13! We have learned together what we each need to get along. He has taught me more about little boys (and big boys too!) than I could have ever hoped to know. We have sat countless times in the emergency room for fevers and illnesses, and a couple times for injuries which always seem to happen in the most ridiculous way possible. He taught me that babies sometimes go to sleep when the sweeper is running. He taught me the magic of mommy kisses to make everything better.

He has broken my mommy heart. He has proven that he has a beautiful soul. He has taught me what it REALLY means to be a mom. And now he's teaching me the hardest lesson I have ever learned so far....how to let go. How to trust in the work that I have done to this point and allow him a little room to try his newly unfurled wings. Not easy, by any means. But definitely what I have been planning for all of his life. I know he's doing to do just fine out in the big old world (even if I still will always worry!). He has hopes and dreams for himself. And I couldn't be any prouder of him!

Just when I truly began to believe that Caleb would be the only child I ever raised, that no hope existed that I could ever have another baby, along came you. A miracle from the start. Lydia Anne, named for two of your great-great grandmas, a name meaning, "Of the noble sort" and "grace". Oh. I couldn't have named you any better for the trials you will face in your life, even though I never had a clue when that name was decided on...long before we knew whether you were a girl or a boy, long before we knew about your heart defect, and long before we had ever heard the words "Down's Syndrome". 

You have taught me true grace under fire. You have led me to appreciate the little things in life and to celebrate the tiniest accomplishments. You have made me grateful for each day. You have shown me that the hardest heart crumbles to dust with the flash of your smile.

You have taught me to laugh. To cry. To pray. To trust in God. To love with everything in me. 

You taught me that nothing is a given. But most of all you have given me the chance to be truly thankful for what I have been given.

Three beautiful, unique, immensely special children. 
Blessed? Yep. That's me!

I am so thankful for each and every one of you. You have all brought something irreplaceable to my life and I would not be the same without the existence of each of you. I would not be me without you. 



  1. What a beautiful post for your children to read one day. Makes me want to write one too!!

  2. I just want to thank you for sharing so much of your heart. I am currently expecting my second daughter. My first, Norah will be 3 years old when Adeline (baby #2) arrives. I've been told there's an increased risk that Adeline will have Down Syndrome- 5% which is apparently very high for a 24 year old. I've had one ultrasound which looked normal, I'll have another next week (20 weeks), and a fetal echo cardiogram at 24 weeks. I have made the decision not to have amnio, so I know that even with no markers or indications from these screenings that I won't know 100% until Adeline is born. Because I can't know, I'm making every effort to prepare myself. This is how I discovered your blog. I read many of your comments on Circle of Moms before I checked out your blog. Each one showed such compassion, wisdom, and hope. Everything you have shared has touched my heart and inspired me to be a better mother to both of my daughters. Even if Adeline doesn't have Down Syndrome, I will be better off because of things I have learned from you. So thank you.

  3. Oh.Rachel. *tears* Thank you. That is the most amazing compliment I have ever gotten!
    I started this blog for a lot of reasons. One being a way to chronicle this journey so that as Lydia gets older she will be able to know exactly how I feel about things now.
    But what could be the biggest reason is so that people could see what an amazing journey this is that we're on. And it is. Every second of it so far has created something beautiful.
    No matter what the future holds with your little Adeline, it will be ok. I can promise that.
    If you ever need anything at all, shoot me off an email, or leave me a message here. I check my page all the time (almost compulsively!).
    Much love to you and your two precious ones! :)

  4. Hi
    My name is Jenna and i came across your site. Your kids are awesome beautiful, handsome, and Little Lydia is a cutie. She is a smilen inspirational hero. I was born with a rare life threatening disease, and have developmental delays. I love it when people sign my guestbook. www.miraclechamp.webs.com


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