Monday, October 27, 2014

Almost Seven

These beautifully cool crisp days, the leaves turning to bright red and brilliant orange, the kids choosing their Halloween costumes...all these things tell me what time of year it is.  Sometimes I think it could very well be 2007 and then other times I am so glad that it isn't.  She has one week left to be 6 years old.  The years with this girl and her brothers are going by too quickly.  We celebrate another year with her and I know that celebrate doesn't even begin to describe what we do on her birthday...but that's what you're supposed to do on birthdays isn't it?  Celebrate.  

We are leaving the 6's and moving on to the 7's.  I have had four 6 year olds and I won't have another one.  It's such a mix of emotions.  I can run the entire spectrum of emotions in minutes or seconds even.  I still mourn what she "should" be doing.  I still think about what she might be doing if her injury had never occurred.  I look at her beautifully long fingers and wonder if she would have been a piano player.  I think about our love of sports and imagine her on the soccer or softball field or would I have maybe even had a dancer, gymnast or cheerleader on my hands.  Yes, my mind goes there...not a lot...but enough, especially this time of year.

I try not to dwell on those things.  I don't want them to linger in my mind and on my heart.  She's here with us and I can hold her and feel the warmth of her next to me.  I can hold her hand and kiss her feet even if my tears are falling on them.  I find contentment in her smile and in those big bright eyes.  I find purpose in taking care of her.  

You can see why "celebrate" doesn't quite explain what we do on her birthday.  Together seems like a much better description of what we will be doing a week from today...just being together.

Colossians 1:16-17 "For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Special Olympics

We are experiencing fall weather at its finest here in the deep south...low 70's during the day and cool refreshing evenings once the sun starts to go down.  I have to tell y'all about the most amazing experience we had last Thursday. It was one of those picturesque fall days I was just describing.  Sophie Kate, Grey and I headed off to SK's very first Special Olympics at our school's football stadium.  We could hear the music and excitement building in the stadium as soon as we parked and started unloading all of our stuff, remember Sassy doesn't travel lightly these days. 

This was the scene as Sophie Kate entered the stadium, please note Grey's face it is priceless.
video
This was the scene as every participant entered the stadium.  Students from our high school, teachers, administrators and other supporters lined the entrance and cheered as every person entered the stadium for Special Olympics.  This was probably my favorite moment. I watched so many people walk or roll through this crowd of folks cheering for them each with a huge smile on their face.

Sophie Kate is not old enough to compete in the official Special Olympic events so she participates in the pint size games.  Take a look at all of the things she did...

 Parachute games...
 Bowling...
  Teeball...

 Stacking buckets...

Next we went to the sensory tent where Sophie Kate got to feel different textures...
 Play musical instruments...
and got her face painted...
 Look at that face...
This was our first experience with Special Olympics and it was a wonderful day.  It was so well done and our girl had a fabulous time.

Everyone should experience this day at some point in their life.  I am not just saying that because I have a special needs child.  I am saying this as a parent to typically developing children as well.  I want my boys to be a part of something like this...something that's not all about them. It's always a good thing to be less selfish, to be more understanding, to be more compassionate, to be a servant and to put other folks before ourselves.  Our world could use a lot more of all of those things.  It was a privilege to be a part of this day.   
  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Their Room

I have always been very candid here with how difficult these weeks leading up to November 3rd are for me. Sophie Kate will be 7 years old this year and as I look back over this time it is not just filled with sadness and tears and loss of dreams.  It is a big ole mix of things...happy and sad, tears and smiles, anger and forgiveness...it's life that we have been experiencing.  I grab onto these weeks because life was still "normal" then (if any of us are really "normal").  It was this time 7 years ago that Sophie Kate's brain was healthy and uninjured...my body had not failed her yet.  She had not been taken from me...yet.

Her nursery was not her's alone.  She was to share a room with her closest brother, who was only 17 months old when she was born.  Grey had moved to a "big boy" bed and the crib that had held three baby boys was exploding with pinks and yellows and greens.  The nursery was "their" room. Grey was already livin' and lovin' life in "their" room and after what was supposed to be a brief, home from the hospital stay in our room she was to join him in "their" room.  She never made it there.  

"Their" room became his room and our room became "her" room.  I don't even remember how long she stayed in our room.  It was a long time and eventually we turned our dining room into her room and it has remained her room to this day.  Y'all already know that their connection runs deep.  So it won't come as a surprise when I tell you that when we are on vacation, Grey and Sophie Kate share a bed...
We felt like Cooper was too big to sleep next to her.  He takes up a lot of space and truthfully no one wants to share a bed with a middle school boy.  Jacob has been known his whole life to sleep all over the bed.  That boy never wakes up in the same position in which he fell asleep.  During the night that boy flips and flops all over the place.  We felt like it wouldn't be safe for him to sleep next to Sophie Kate. 
But this one...this one was just right.
He sleeps perfectly next to her.
Our vacation rooms are "their" room.  I take a lot of pictures of them sleeping next to each other.  Their relationship would have been completely different had they actually been able to share that room.  They wouldn't be who they are now had they shared that room.  Grey might be a bit more selfish than he is now, he might tease her more than he would care for her, he might not be as compassionate as he is now...I think back on so many things that I can look at as a loss, but there is so much to treasure as well.

Please pray for us in the coming weeks as our hearts and minds feel so many different things.  That we will not be suffocated by our memories but instead overwhelmed at the goodness of God in our lives.  God is faithful in the hurt and in the happy. 

Philippians 4:5 "Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near."

Monday, October 6, 2014

What we have been up to

Life has a way of demanding that you jump right back in...even after surgery and an inpatient hospital stay. Sophie Kate has done just that, she is back to all of her pre-surgery activities...school, therapy, church and football games. Wow, I just had to stop and take pause there because those four things pretty much sum up our life right now.  It's kind of sad but kind of okay with us, we're pretty simple folks and it doesn't take much to make us happy.

Here's what we were up to just 3 1/2 weeks ago...
Inpatient at Children's

 Home and Happy


This is SK and Olaf and they like warm hugs...sorry I couldn't stop myself.
Grey received the Leader of the month award at school with his best girl by his side.  She was one week out of surgery here...she rocked that surgery like a boss!
Sophie Kate, 3 weeks post surgery, ready for the Homecoming football game this past Friday night.  I could hardly stand it, she looked adorable.
Is this not the best?  Some of the high school cheerleaders with our little cheerleader...love it!

We are enjoying our healthy days, we appreciate them knowing things can change and change quickly.  We feel them and experience them to their absolute fullest. We are grateful for bright eyes and smiles as well as the ability to hold and comfort when those same eyes show sickness. We treasure a plain ole normal, regular kind of day because that day is a victory for us.

Matthew 5:8, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God."