The blessing of community.

We live in a relatively small town, though some might call it big.  Like any town we have our struggles and blemishes.  Truth be told, I feel blessed to raise my children in this community.  Our children have the benefit of growing up in a town where all of their grandparents reside and where their parents grew up.  Along with this has come friendships that cross the generations and the truest sense of *community.*

I’m often asked by new mothers who have just given birth to a child with Down syndrome how we shared the news.  Honestly, we didn’t have to.  Within hours {minutes?} of Charlie’s birth, the news was out and the response was overwhelming.  We received a outpouring of love and support from what seemed like everyone in the form of dinners, flowers, cards, voice messages, hand written letters {these were my favorite}, visits where friends would just sit with me and hold Charlie.  I learned during this time that when in doubt about reaching out to someone, you need to just do it.  Even when you don’t know what to say.  In fact, one of my favorite comments was from a friend who called me and said very honestly: Libby, I just don’t know what I’m supposed to say.  That honesty was refreshing and her actions – taking the time to call – spoke volumes more than any *perfect* words could have.

Part of our community includes friends we have known in some form or another since childhood and others while newer additions, are just as important.  One of those friendships is with Brynn and Matt.  Brynn and I had very close due dates and were both thrilled at the idea that our boys would be so close in age.

And they were.  Charlie and Pierson were born on the same day.  To this day I still tear up when I think about it.  Not because I’m sad, but mainly because I’m overwhelmed with the raw emotions that come with that day.  To know that we were just rooms away…that Alex had Matt there to eat meals together in the hospital cafeteria and to help one another load up the cars when it was time to go home…

We are blessed to be Pierson’s godparents and Matt and Brynn are Charlie’s which made it seem natural to have the boys baptized on the same day.  I can’t wait to watch both boys over the years.

From Brynn:

Charlie came into our lives the same day my own son Pierson was born;  August 30, 2007.  Both families were blessed with the cutest little bundles of joy.  From that day forward, we knew Charlie would be a part of our lives forever and we couldn’t be happier.  Watching Charlie grow is truly amazing.  Being the middle child, Charlie tries to keep up with his older brother and entertains his younger brother.  He has the kindest heart and always strives to please.  The fact that Charlie has Down syndrome has never really come up, he is a boy; he plays, he laughs, he sings, he dances, he cries and he loves, and we are proud to be his Godparents.  We are truly blessed.

I can be a tough nut to crack – so to speak – and so I’m especially thankful to have had Joy enter into my life.  She is persistent, tenacious and quite honestly the exact opposite of me and yet…  There are many reasons why her words hold weight.

From Joy:

Before I met Charlie, when I would see someone with a disability, I would only see what their life was lacking because they weren’t “normal”. I saw all the things they couldn’t do, not what they were capable of. But you, Libby, and Charlie have changed all of that. Your approach says there are no limits to what Charlie can accomplish. I envision him continuing to grow and learn his whole life. Sure it takes Charlie longer to reach some of the same goals as his peers, but he gets there in his own time. He is smart and clever and fun to watch as he processes his environment.

Because of Charlie I now look at older people with Down Syndrome, specifically, and wish they had a parent like you. I wish their parents had the latest research and approach from today to guide their child through the intricacies of having an extra chromosome. To this, I am excited to watch Charlie grow over the years to see how far he will go. The time and focus you have invested have given Charlie an amazing foundation for his future. I know this hasn’t been an “easy” road, but you handle it with grace, poise and patience.

Thank you for sharing Charlie with the rest of us and for taking us with you on your journey. You are the best example to me of a mother, wife and friend.   Love, Joy

___________

Speaking of community, you can read about Charlie, Henry and William {the cover models!}  in the newest issue of Busybee, a local parenting magazine.

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One thought on “The blessing of community.

  1. You are so blessed to have such amazing family and friends. The magazine article was great and your boys are adorable and growing up so fast!

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