Yet

She can’t use a jump rope.

She can’t jump over a low hurdle.

She can’t do an agility course.

She can’t run a mile.

She doesn’t control her impulsiveness.

These are some of the concerns raised by a team member during this year’s annual IEP meeting as we prepare for third grade. I get it. Her size, lack of skill, coordination and stamina could be cause for worry. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for a team that cares so much for her and her safety.

However it looks different from our perspective. If we withheld her from every activity that made us worry, she would likely never leave the house. We’ve had to challenge ourselves as parents to see beyond the fear and the worry in order to open more avenues of success.

In life, we have two choices–we can either settle or we can find a way; something we learned quickly after hearing that our daughter was born with Down syndrome. While one may focus on the negative, we chose to alter each limit with one simple word.

She can’t use a jump rope…yet.

She can’t jump over a low hurdle…yet.

She can’t do an agility coarse…yet.

She can’t run a mile…yet.

She doesn’t control her impulsiveness…yet.

You know what else? She can’t do her own laundry, cook a meal or drive a car…YET. She can’t write her name in cursive or do long division…YET. She can’t babysit or ride a bike without training wheels…YET. No, not yet; just like other kids her age. But we believe she will. Maybe not today or tomorrow. Maybe not next year or the year after. But when she is good and ready.

And should those things never come, we will be proud knowing that she gave it her best shot. We’ve seen her jump hurdles higher than the ones you’ll find on an agility coarse, and those are the ones that matter the most to us. If we only focus on the things we can’t do right now, we will never know what we can truly achieve.

As for all of the these things she can’t do now…she just hasn’t done them yet. Her capabilities far exceed her limitations.

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Lucy

It has been quite some time since I last posted…again.  But for good reason.  I am entirely too busy with life outside the hospital, but I can tell I need this place–my journal where my thoughts escape me. My fingers are typing as fast as they can to release every last word in time so I won’t forget even the littlest thought.

When Tessa was in treatment, I thought it was funny to teach her to say, “I want a puppy” every time she would see Dan.  It was supposed to be a short-lived joke…

After months of Tessa “asking”, we welcomed Lucy into our lives nearly two weeks ago.  Lucy is a Goldendoodle, and we all love her so much.  When Tessa and I went the second time to pick her up, I was not drawn to her right away.  But she stumbled at Tessa’s feet through most of our visit.  Lucy would run away and find herself back by Tessa moments later.  The other puppies in the litter would pass by quickly or stop briefly to check Tessa out, but Lucy would lay calmly next to her even when Tessa shrugged her off,

I know… We’re busy.  “Why would we get a puppy?”  “Don’t you know how much work they are?”  “It’s like having a new baby…”  I have heard it all.  Was I ready for Kendal?  Heck no!  Is there really ever a good time for change?  To be clear…this was a well thought out and timely decision.  It came down to this. Life is short.  Believe me, I can vaguely sum up the value of our time here on earth because I have watched my daughter fight for more time.  Time is precious so use it wisely.  Because of that, I would do anything to make each day enjoyable.  I would rather be busy at home watching our children light up over their puppy, then be stuck in a hospital fearing that time was not on her side.  I would rather create memories while I have the opportunity than wish for them.  I know what it is like to fear that my child would not live to see a new day.  Therefore I choose to live in the moment.  So we built a new campsite and got a puppy.  Some nights we stay up late and sometimes we share our bed with busy toddlers…and Lucy.

It is funny, isn’t it?  The things I said that I would never do as a parent simply disappeared when I realized one of the biggest parts of being a parent is doing the things that make my children happy…like getting a puppy, sharing a bed and surrendering alone time.  The three kids in this house deserve it. They need it.  They need to know that life is normal again.  They need to feel the chaos of a busy home, not the chaos from a separated household.

Lucy is the perfect binder for all of us.  She is cuddly, playful, energetic and so sweet.  Do my girls constantly shove their fingers in her mouth? Absolutely.  Do they lay on top of her and pull her tail?  Yup.  Do they play in her water bowl?  Every chance they get!  We are working on it all.  Nice touches, chew toy redirecting, BOUNDARIES, and responsibility.  The result?  A family of five rebuilding with communication and teamwork through a puppy.

For now we are just letting Lucy be a puppy, but some day I hope to make her a therapy dog so Tessa and I can visit the hospital and pay forward Lucy’s joy to those who could use a little.

Lucy is exactly what we all needed.

Lucy 2

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