Unexpected Blessings: March 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

We've Already Won

What would you do if you won the lottery? It's fun for my husband and I to imagine what we would do if we won big. My answer usually revolves around being a stay-at-home mom, volunteering at local schools, and giving money to charity and our families. I don’t really think about the details, because after all, the chances of actually winning are pretty slim. But if you’d ask my husband, he has a serious plan if he ever won – retiring to a big house on a beach in Florida, playing golf at the world’s best courses, sharing our winnings with family, and taking a European cruise with our kids. It amuses me to hear him talk about this, because he gets so excited about it. That’s why it’s no surprise that I often find Powerball tickets in his car, in the laundry, or on the kitchen counter. He definitely doesn’t buy a ticket every single day, but I will occasionally find one. And when I do, I’ll joke that our chances are “one in millions” and his response is always the same, “Someone has to win, why shouldn’t it be us?”

So at this point, you’re probably wondering why I’m writing a blog entry about the lottery, when my intention was to share stories about raising a child with special needs. For you to fully understand, I’d have to share a conversation my husband and I had just the other day.

We were talking about how much our life has changed since Augusta was born three months ago. How therapy sessions, doctor’s visits, and consultations have become the norm for us. How every decision we make revolves around what is best for our kids, and questions about Augusta’s future are never far from our minds. How scared we are for Augusta’s surgery next week, whether insurance will pay for hearing aids if she needs them, and how she’ll be if she has to wear a helmet for the next few months. Overall, we have been so blessed with Augusta’s health, but sometimes it’s overwhelming and you just need a good cry session. And that’s when Ryan said the most powerful statement since our daughter was born, “You know what? I wouldn’t change her for a million dollars?” “Really?” I asked, “How about a billion? Or trillion for that matter?” “Nope, not a chance,” he firmly replied.

This comment coming from the passionate Powerball player? The one who has his winnings planned out to the very last dollar? Don’t get me wrong, I have never questioned Ryan’s love for our daughter. He is the one that, after her birth told me her diagnosis didn’t mean a thing – that we’d still love her with all our heart. But he’s definitely not as vocal about his reactions to the diagnosis, the financial aspect of things, and how it’s changed our family. He’s usually the quiet one, while I’m drilling the doctors with countless questions. When I’m upset over the seventh hearing test she has failed, he assures me that Augusta hears me with her heart. If I’m frustrated over not doing enough therapy exercises in one day, he reminds me she’s just a baby and the most important thing is to love and snuggle her.

But if you consider all the ways our life has changed since having a child with special needs, life would definitely be easier if we didn’t have a child with Down syndrome. So to hear him say he wouldn’t change her for a million dollars? Let’s just say I fell in love with him all over again.

The truth is...Augusta may not be the child we planned, but I firmly believe that sometimes God gives us things that are far better than we could have ever imagined. Yes, she has Down syndrome, but that’s how God made her. So why in the world would we want to change her? By changing her, we would take away all the things that make her special, that make her who she is - a beautiful baby girl, the best snuggle partner ever, a little sister who adores her big brother, an angel who has opened our eyes to the beauty in this world, a baby who loves taking bubble baths, a little fighter who tries so hard during therapy, a wide-eyed little wonder who is constantly watching everything around her, and an amazing gift that we have been given. The list could go on and on. So while life would definitely be easier if we didn’t have the challenges that go along with Down syndrome, it definitely wouldn’t be near as rewarding.

...So Ryan came home with another lottery ticket last night. This week’s prize is valued at $40 million. You never know, maybe next week we’ll be sailing off to Europe, watching Augusta and Maverick playing in the sand, or playing golf at Pebble Beach. You never know, anything can happen. After all, someone has to win, right? But even if our numbers don’t match up, that’s okay with me...because we’ve already won.

Copyright © 2011 Kristan.