~Idgie Threadgoode, Fried Green Tomatoes
I live in a bubble. A bubble where my children are healthy, developing according to the books, and thriving. A bubble where my biggest complaint is not sleeping through the night and re-loading the dishwasher for the billionth time. A bubble where loading up the van to go to the ballpark four nights this past week, since we now have three children playing on two separate ball teams, makes me feel too busy to slow down and truly appreciate what's around me. A bubble where there is almost nothing but laughter and hugs, and when there are tears, it's only because someone fell and scraped a knee, or got their feelings hurt by an older sibling who doesn't feel like playing at the moment. Or the tears are from me because I don't feel like loading the dishwasher at the moment. Their pain and illnesses are typical to a healthy childhood. Stomach viruses feel like they'll never end, but a few days later, we're all healthy and back to our normal rat race.
Some days I feel trapped inside my bubble. Being a Mother is exhausting, even on the easiest of days. Having others depend on you for everything morning, noon and night can wear down even the strongest of souls. I have no idea why every member living in our bubble thinks to ask ME where their belts/wallets/shoes/baseball gloves/hats/over-due library books/dance shoes are located as we rush out the door, late, to meetings/lunch dates/church/ball-practice/school/ballet lessons. And what puzzles me even more is why I can't recall important details such as their social security numbers, or even to schedule Flash Flood's 15 month check up, yet I do know that those items are located on the dryer/top of the refrigerator/on the ping-pong table in the garage/under the couch cushions/in the van/and maybe you should check in your ROOM for those ballet shoes, since that's where they belong.
Even on the days when I feel trapped in my bubble, I'm still happy to remain there. Reluctant at the thought to ever leave. Because it's cozy in that bubble. We're safe. We're happy. And life is, for the most part, relatively easy.
Life isn't supposed to be easy though. And for some, living in a bubble like mine was never an option.
On Friday, my Momma forwarded an e-mail from her school counselor. My Mother has been blessed to be a part of a school faculty (the same school I attended grades K-12) where the teachers and administrators support each other, and their students, in a loving, nurturing environment. My Momma explained the following.... This precious little girl is wheel chair stricken. She has Hurler's Syndrome and her future is unknown, but you can't prove it by her. She is, like the many handicapped children I've had the privilege of meeting here, a happy optimistic Pollyanna sort of child. For every grandchild we have, including toddler ages, I have met amazing children in leg braces, using walkers, nonverbal, and those who will never walk. These children are so drastically handicapped they must have an aid with them wherever they go. Their attitudes make me smile and weep. I wanted you to see this, because I am very proud of the people I work with. They make me a better person, as each of you do. "Count your blessing name them one by one!" xoxoxo Much love, Cookie In the email, Tami Wester, the school counselor, attached some pictures and a brief description of the concert, where she had taken this beautiful little Angel to meet Sam from the popular Nickelodeon tween show, iCarly. In her e-mail, Tami wrote the following, very valuable lessons.
1. If you have a child, or children, who are healthy...and you get up in the morning and complain about anything....shame on us!
2. Being the parent of a handicapped child is hard work! It took me, and four other members of the staff to figure out how to get everything in order, just to get her up in my car, yesterday. :-) You don't realize how much "stuff" you have to do.
3. Our healthy children need to be taught and to be exposed to children who are "different". We learned a lot of life lessons last night.
4. When I hear people complain about places not being handicap "friendly", I will realize this is a genuine problem.
5. When you see a child in a wheelchair, bend over and speak to them.....even if they can't talk or respond.
6. Don't be afraid to ask for things, you might just get them. We were standing at the back of the concert last night, and she couldn't see anything except butts. She kept asking...why are they clapping? Is someone on the stage? She never complained about not being able to see, she just wanted us to tell her what was going on. I went and talked to an executive with Capitol Records and told him we couldn't see....he immediately called a security guard and cleared a huge path for us to get to the front of the stage right as Jennette McCurdy was taking the stage. :-) If I hadn't have asked.......
7. Kids get a bad rap, but there are some good ones.....As we approached the stage, there were two pre-teen girls in front of us, who were just as excited as we were about being there. One of the girls turned around and saw us behind them. She elbowed her friend and told her that we needed to get in front of them because "that girl" can't see. We were then able to be at the very front...and I know those girls couldn't see over my head, but they never said a word.
8. Most people, even celebrities, are kind, decent folk. Jennette McCurdy spent a lot of time, one-on-one. She made a girl's dream come true. For that, I am grateful! 9. We all have a lot to be thankful for and need to remember to count our blessings every day!
Tears streamed down my face as I read Tami's lessons. Those slaps in the face that say, "Wow, you're really a spoiled rotten BRAT, Holly!" are never fun. But are very much needed. I am so thankful for how easy it's been to live inside our bubble. But slowly, I'm maturing enough to realize that living inside of it may not be what God has planned for us. And if/when that bubble gets popped, I hope and pray to carry on with the strength and love some of my friends have always shown.
Tesney & Greg Davis have also been a HUGE inspiration to me.
I've known Tesney a long time. She was a camp counselor and life guard where I went to church camp every summer. She was a positive influence, beautiful, fun to be around, and she was my oldest brother's age, so for me, that added to her coolness factor. Sometimes, the people we look up to as kids don't seem so wonderful anymore when we become grown ups ourselves. Unfortunately, I've re-connected with quite a few of my past role-models through facebook, and other venues, only to learn they didn't grow up to be such a great role-model after all. Even though I'm now an adult, I always feel so let down and bummed when that happens. I am proud to tell you, this is NOT the case for Tesney!
Tesney and her husband, Greg, have been in the process of adopting a precious little Angel named Kirill for well over a year. Kirill has Down Syndrome and lives in a region of Russia where these children are deemed "socially unadaptable" and thought to be better off in an institution, hidden away from the world. On March 17th, Tesney and Greg went before a judge for FIVE HOURS of questioning, and at the end, were given the ruling: REJECTED, due to Kirill's inability to adapt socially, according to the judge. The judge told Tesney and Greg they could be approved of an adoption for a "typical" child, since they were indeed very good parents. (I'm paraphrasing here.)
I was so sad to learn the news that day, that Tesney and Greg, and their biological son, Clayton, would not be welcoming their sweet Angel- Kirill into their home as quickly as they thought. Tesney and Greg haven't let this "rejection" get the best of them. They are petitioning our prayers, as they fight hard to bring Kirill home. They are filing an appeal with the Supreme Court system in Russia.
Please pray, as this family and Kirill await the next decision. They are begging for prayers to change the judge's heart about these special angels, who are hidden away from the world, all because they have an extra chromosome. Tesney has asked that no one slander the judge, or write negative comments of any type. And to please, please pray for the judge's heart to be changed. There are several other families waiting to adopt children with Down Syndrome from this same region, and will have to face this same judge, so other lives hang in the balance. Please also pray for Tesney, Greg and Clayton to feel God's peace and comfort during this time as well.
You can read more and follow their journey over on their blog: Our Eyes Opened.
Make sure you read Kirill's Story.
It's these strong people, who are my heroes. Some do it by choice. While others have no choice, and are simply playing the hand they were dealt. They are living outside of a cushioned bubble, and doing it in a way that's truly inspirational, and glorifying to God.
Thank-you, Tami, for sharing that angel's story. And thank-you, Tesney & Greg, for helping us to open our eyes. Love & Hugs to you, ~Holly