Saturday, January 23, 2010

Some Thoughts

I've been thinking a lot recently about some of the challenges and joys of raising a child who has special needs. In so many ways, it is just like raising my other children. I love each one of my beautiful babies, and they all are so unique and adorable. One of the things I have noticed about raising Kaitlyn though, is that the valleys are lower and the peaks are higher. Like when we found out at her ultrasound that she had spina bifida, and the whole rest of the pregnancy, the surgery, living in SF, missing Damon and Audrey, obviously that was the lowest valley. Then seeing your beautiful child succeed, and overcoming the obstacles that she has like learning to eat, and breathe, seeing her legs kick and move for the first time. Those are the highest highs. Things I took for granted with my first two. I'm sure that these peaks and valleys will only grow larger with time. Even now, as I go to church and see all the babies Kaitlyn's age or a little younger doing things Kaitlyn hasn't yet, I start to worry. The worrying never goes away. I always wonder about each little delay, and how the disparity between her and those her age will grow with time. But then I see my beautiful little girl smile at me, and I know it took her longer, and she had to work harder for those smiles, and I know that I am more proud of that smile than I was of any of the others. I can't imagine the peak we will have when she takes her first step, when she says her first word. It really emphasizes for me the principle that you have to know the bad to appreciate the good.

In church last Sunday part of a lesson that was given was about all the qualities and gifts we are given from our Heavenly Father. The teacher went on to list about 15 of these, and I realized that none of these had anything to do with being intellectually gifted. I have no idea what is in store for Kaitlyn. I do know that she has mild hydrocephalus, and that her brain has a few abnormalities from the chiari that she had in utero. How those will manifest later as far as learning disabilities, we don't know. I always seemed to equate my self-worth and the essence of who I am with the way I think and my intelligence. Then, when we found out about Kaitlyn, my views have slowly changed. Some of the gifts that were mentioned were, the ability to love, the gift of faith, the gift of charity, etc. I feel like so many who are limited in intellect have these gifts in abundance. I look at Damon and Audrey, and the essence of who they are is not identifying letters and numbers and long in depth conversations about our world. It is their innocence. The fact that they don't judge others, that they love unconditionally. That they forgive easily, that they give hugs and kisses away constantly. I love them more than I can express, and it is not because I think they have so much ahead of them, it is for who they are right now. I love Kaitlyn so much for who she is right now, and no matter what happens in the future, I am going to be so proud of her for everything she is able to accomplish. I am so grateful that I get to learn these lessons, and that I get to have these high peaks. Kaitlyn is an incredible blessing to our family, and I am so lucky to be her mommy.

10 comments:

  1. shelly, this is completely beautiful and a wonderful reminder to see our children the way our Father in Heaven sees them. I thoroughly admire you and the mother that you are.

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  2. I think I am lucky to be your friend. And I think Damon, Audrey, and Kaitlyn are so lucky to have you as their mom.

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  3. Shelly, what a beautiful post. I think it does take hard things sometimes for us to realize how blessed we are. I so admire your faith as you press forward.

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  4. Wow, how incredibly thoughtful and sweet! It really brought home for me a few things, and I appreciate your insight and testimony. I've been having somewhat similar thoughts these days because of Joshua--not that it's even close to the same situation, but I can relate on a small scale. It's hard when you see kids around you who are the same age or even younger than your little one, and they're doing all these things that yours isn't yet. But Joshua is still very loving, and he's still so very sweet, and I imagine Kaitlyn is too. I can't wait to meet her someday. You guys are always in our prayers, and I agree--your kids are super lucky to have you as their mom. :) We love you!

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  5. Shelly, we are SO honored to have you in our family, and blessed that you are the mother of our treasured grandchildren. Thank you for a tender blog.

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  6. That's wonderful Shelly. I totally agree and think that intelligence and knowledge is great, but it's one of the things I notice least about people. How they treat others and their spirit is much more important. Kaitlyn sounds like a beautiful, sweet little girl. :)

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  7. I total know how you feel. You are inspirational. Kaitlyn is beautiful. She looks great. How is her head. Any sign of needing a shunt. P.S. I always joke with Jared that I am going to hunt down Kaitlyn when their older and set up her and my Ty. How cool would that be two LDS kids who had rare fetal surgery and were enrolled in the MOMS study

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  8. We are in Conroe. Our clinic is on Feb 2:( But we are close and I am a SAHM too! So, since I have one and you have more:) We should set up a time to come visit you in Humble!!! email me!

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  9. Beautiful thoughts...and something we can all work on. It really is such an important and powerful thing to know that we are valued for who we are, not what we are. Thanks for the reminder.

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