Family is a big thing around here. Not only do we have the joy of a large family, our family is truly a joy. We are so blessed to be raising our children surrounded by an extended family who loves them for who they are.
It also helps that we think we’re all pretty darn funny and love to spend time together.
Family as a constant in our lives is a gift. It is not something I take for granted.
Together we are blessed.
I’ll never forget the afternoon at the hospital when Charlie was born. The news hit me like a ton of bricks, almost taking my breath away. I remember I had to find a place to sit down after hearing that Charlie was born with Down syndrome.
As the reality sank in, I knew that we would all pull together to make sure that his life was as rich and full as it could be. I also knew that he was a beautiful child of God.
Fast forward to today and it is a real joy to watch Charlie in action. When he is at our house he comes running in with open arms and a “Pa-pa” greeting. He like to follow me around the house investigating and handling all the “new” things he sees there, from my shoes in my closet to my flies and fishing rods in my den.
He is a happy guy, full of joy. He is also a fighter who, at his own pace, has learned to master many of the things that we take for granted. I look forward to taking Charlie fishing and skiing. The thing I’ve learned with Charlie is that his speed of learning is different from our other grand kids, but with patience and love he can accomplish amazing things.
It’s only been four years, but I know I can’t imagine our lives without Charlie.
From Aunt Maribeth:
I’ll never forget that drive from Seattle. Half-way there, getting the phone call from your Nana after you were born. The uncertainty of what lay ahead.
And then we met you, Charlie. I loved you from the get-go. (Yes, I loved your brothers from the get-go too!) There was a peaceful tenderness about you. Holding you and caring for you warmed my heart. It still does. And you blessed us with something extra-special – an extended snuggly baby stage. What a gift to our baby-loving family. It’s as though you gave us more time to get to know you and hold you close before you became the amazing, independent little boy that we know and love today.
You are a trooper, Charlie. You proved that from the start. And you are no push-over (two brothers and family DNA may have something to do with that!). You show delight like nobody’s business, and are irresistibly cute! Like your Aunt Corey said, while there are no hugs on demand from you, when you give a hug, it’s the best, sweetest gift ever!
I’m so glad that you are in my life, Charlie. You have blessed me. And you’ve helped me. Before knowing you, while I wouldn’t look away from someone with a disability, I simply didn’t know how to be. Now I want to know them, because I know you. I want to be with them the way I want others to be with you. Not because of their disability or difference, but because I know they are wonderfully made, just like you. I love you!