Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our five kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Friday, June 16, 2006

The gift of Perspective

This was originally written in Jan of 2006, but somehow it disappeared! It now appears in the book "Gifts, Mothers reflect on how children with Down Syndrome changed their lives."
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Ok..I took the kids to the tubing hill (huge hill, the city has tubes out, and down you go.) but there were no tubes today, and our ONE sled (for the 3 kids) sucks so I left the boys with Angela and ran to Walmart up the street for more.

I get to Walmart, and they are all sold out of the cheap ones, but have a bunch of the $25 SUPER FAST RACER SLEDS. I wasn't planning on spending $50, but if I showed up at the hill with empty handed Angela was absolutely freak out, so I had no choice but to purchase what the sign says is "the fastest sled in the neighborhood".

When I got back to the hill , the 4 of us (Noah, Tyler, Angela and I) are standing at the top of this huuuuuuuuuge hill. It's about 200 yards, with a good 50-75 yard flat area at the bottom. We decide to send Angela down, and one of the boys was going behind her to help back up the hill. She flew. She flew so far and Noah and I were at the top of the hill laughing at how fast and far she was going.

And then I saw it.

OMG I saw it.

At the end of the "runway" at the bottom of the hill....and nobody ever makes it that far...is about a 2 foot drop... TO A POND!!! And on the closest edge of the pond is about a 4 foot round hole of open water. Angela was headed straight for the open water.

I started freaking out and screaming "Someone grab that kid!! QUICK CATCH HER BEFORE SHE GETS TO THE POND!!!!" But the 25+ adults that she flew past just watched her go by. With sleds zooming past me, I start running down the middle of the glaze ice hill, trying not to take my eyes off her, sure she's going to go under. I can hear Tyler running and screaming behind me, and Noah behind him. Had someone had a video camera, it would have looked at one of those Chevy Chase movies. Where the kid is zooming down the hill 100 miles and hour, then cut to the fat mom, running in slow motion down a very steep, ice covered hill, with arms going like windmills, and legs not quite keeping up, mouth open in a slowed down distorted scream, and the teenagers coming from behind trying to bypass the screaming banshee mother.

I felt so very far away from her. OMG...I felt so far away.

I watched as she dropped off the edge, and SKIMMED ACROSS THE OPEN WATER, coming to a stop right smack in the middle of the pond, with her feet dangling over the edge of the ice. Laughing hysterically at her very exciting ride.

I'm still running, and screaming at her to not move. But I am fat, and slow,and Tyler got to the pond before me. He stood at the edge of the open water. I turned to look for someone else to help, and everyone had wandered away. Nobody even realized we are there. (Probably because they are all unconscious from getting whacked in the head by my flailing arms, and are now deaf from my piercing screams.)

"Go get her Tyler!" I screamed. He looked at me like I was insane. Ofcourse, I AM insane at the moment. I know it's not a very deeppool..probably 6 or 7 feet deep. I just cannot stand there knowing if shemoves she's going to go under. It occurs to me I'm a horrible swimmer.Tyler walked through the long weeds and snow to a different part of thepond, and as he stepped on the ice we could hear it crack. He looked at me, clearly scared to death and I screamed "GO!" and he did. And he carried her back to the side and I was freaking out. OMG....

I have never been so scared in my entire life. I had visions of funerals anda drowning kid and all the horrible things I could possibly think of. All Ireally wanted to do was go home.

But Angela had FUN and wanted to do it more! So we kept one person at the bottom to stop her. She never made it that far again, even if one of ushadn't been down there to stop. Evenso, we're never going to that hill again!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Ten years ago


Ten years ago, as you were flown away in a helicopter, your daddy said to me, "They think she might have Down Syndrome" I honestly had no idea what an affect those words would have on my life.

You are amazing, my little one who is sprouting up before my eyes. Each morning you wake me with the announcemet, "I have good news! It's morning!" with a smile a mile wide, eager to see what the day will bring you. I will admit, there are days here and there where I wish you could wait until it was light out to tell me this, but most of the time I secretly smile inside at the way your genuine joy brightens the room. (well, maybe it was the light switch you flipped on, but whatever.)

I marvel at the way you never forget a person's name, or a place, or the way home from any store, doctor's office or bank that we visit. The fact that you can remember a list in your head has saved me more than once. And nothing is ever lost in our house as long as you're here. Just today I lost my keys, and while I was looking for them you kept telling me, "They're in the door mom." but I didn't pay attention, you're a kid afterall. Finally when I was in my fit of frustration you opened a cabinet door and said, "See? I'm not touching them there." aaahhh yes...now I remembered. I had to hide them from you. But you don't miss a thing, do you?

I watch you struggle with your emotions and your friends. I watch you get mad at yourself when you make a mistake, and I cry inside when I can't make it easier for you. But even with all your difficulties, you persevere. You prove to those who should know better that there is no box to categorize you in. You are your own person. You know exactly who you are and you aren't about to let anyone tell you differently.

I see your confidence shine strong and true as you run a race in Special Olympics, or when you stand up in front of the entire school, singing your heart out as we watch look on, quietly wiping the tears away. Afterall, the "other moms" there have no clue what it took to get you there, do they?

You are an amazing young lady Angela. I can't wait to see what the next 10 years bring.