I just got word that my brother in law Jim just finished the Chicago Marathon. I am so excited for him and proud of his journey to get there. He injured his foot about three weeks ago and it was up in the air even just this week if he was going to be able to run the 26.2 miles or not. So this was an even bigger accomplishment for him to not only run that distance but to do it while in pain.
This brings me to the subject of FAMILY.
When I received the diagnosis for Caleb that he had Down Syndrome I was alone in the NICU with my sister in law Megan. She was one of the best people I could have wished to have been with when the news was delivered to me. She is often a girl of few words, but she gets her point across. She said It's no Big Deal, you can do this. And to her, I believe its truly no big deal. She has a cousin who is like a sister to her and who has a Developmental Disability of some sort. Her cousin is, I think 19, such a fun person to be around and yet still needs the scolding a four year old would need for doing something they know they shouldn't have done, she can be quite mischievous at times. Megan knows what her aunt has gone through, what the family has gone through, how her cousin has affected many peoples lives for the better. And therefore I trusted that it was No Big Deal.
I called my husband and he met me at home and I told him about the diagnosis. We cried briefly, more out of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of how our lives were going to change, fear of what others would say, fear for our children, fear of the future. In response to the fear we dove right into research and some of that scared the tar out of us even more, but most of it did actually settled our minds a bit. That this was indeed No Big Deal.
I have to say that at first breaking the news to family was heart wrenching. Each member took the news a little different than the other. We had some family members who began crying instantly, we had some family members who said they were so sorry, we had some family members say we were good parents and we could handle anything God gave us, we had family members make us feel like this was going to be a terrible burden on us and what were we going to do... Yea, a very broad range of emotions we had to deal with along with the fact that we still had two very tiny babies in the NICU who were still needing alot of medical attention to keep them alive.
Aside from breaking the news of the diagnosis, my family was absolutely amazing. I was in the hospital for several days before the boys emergency c-section, and then stayed in a week after they were born, and then a very long 84 day NICU stay for Isaac in Pittsburgh. During all of this, Tom and I closed on a new home. My family cared for the three older children and they all pulled together and scheduled who would have the children when, who would be feeding them, getting them off to school, etc..etc..etc.. AND my mom and sisters pulled together and painted and wallpapered almost the entire house for me while the boys were in the NICU so that there would be no paint fumes to deal with when they're wee little bodies came home finally. AND my church family provided us with meals AND my Mothers of Multiples group provided us with meals AND the prayers we received were so comforting.
One of the best things about a Down Syndrome Diagnosis? Family. It pulled us together more than we could have thought. It made us realize what is important. It helped us appreciate that just being here for each other means more than a high IQ or a big pay check. It means that God does give us things at just the right moment for just the right reasons. And I know that there are many people who would not want to deal with what we do, but not having been put into the position as we were almost 4 years ago I may have thought and said the same thing. But today.. Today I thank God for his DOUBLE BLESSING on my family. We have all grown from these boys. I love my family.
What would you say is one of the Best things about a Down Syndrome Diagnosis??