One Year Old

Our baby girl turned 1 year old. And what a year it has been. An absolute whirlwind. If you would have told me 2 years ago that we would have a baby with Down Syndrome, be in the NICU 2 months, and during that time my mom would have hip surgery, we would almost lose my grandma, Cohen would have a strange allergic reaction that we would never really figure out, I would hemorrhage 16 days after having Lainey, Landry would have hernia surgery, we would go home and have to isolate ourselves to stay away from RSV and Influenza, and then a Pandemic would hit, and Zach would leave his job and start his own…I would have looked at you and said f-off. But here we are!

We have been celebrating our sweet Lainey Dee turning 1 for several days. We had an official birthday party this weekend at our house. And we will celebrate with Zach’s family tomorrow.

Landry was my party planner (she designated that duty herself) and we had a simple night at our house with my family. When Landry turned 1, I thought I had to have a whole big shindig. Funny how things change by the time the third baby turns 1. I used the same streamer on the high chair I made for Landry. And we got balloons. And that was it. We always look forward to the best cake ever on birthdays but she unfortunately was sick, so we made our own. And the kids loved that they got to make her cake.

Happy Birthday my sweet girl. I am so blessed to be your mama. You have changed my life.

The Door

A mile out of town sits a little farmhouse on my family’s farm. I grew up in that farmhouse just like my dad and his siblings. My parents built a new house and moved when I was a sophomore in college. My cousin and his wife and their kids moved into the farmhouse. Then a few years later my sister and her family moved in and are now raising their 3 little babes there. Inside that farmhouse is a door to a closet. And on the inside of that door are close to 100 names. That door holds the names, dates, and heights of family and friends. Ranging all the way from when my dad was young to today. I love that door.

When Landry was around 1 year old we got a large wooden ruler to put in our hallway. It’s sole purpose is to hold the names, dates and heights or our family and our kid’s friends names. I’m not sure it can hold as many as it’s not as big. But we will find a spot for them. When Cohen turned 1 we started putting his measurements on that ruler. We recently measured Lainey for the first time when she turned one. We looked at how much Landry and Cohen have grown this past year. Landry, 2 inches and Cohen, 3. I was quickly reminded that while the chaos, messes and constant need for sippy cups to be refilled feels like all my life consists of most days, it will be over sooner than I’m ready for.

Lainey is our last baby. (Thank God, I can’t handle another pregnancy) While I am 100% good with our decision to be done, it doesn’t mean I won’t miss the baby stage. The day Cohen doesn’t let me pick him up and hold him and hug and kiss him will be a horribly sad day for me. I think about who these little people will grow up to be. I am excited to see who they become. It also brings me a lot of worry. I worry we will make mistakes as parents that will cause them to go down the wrong road. I worry we won’t find the right balance between helping them experience all the world has to offer while hoping to keep them away from all the ugly there is out there too. And I worry about Lainey. There is so much about her future that’s unknown. Will she be able to live independently? Get married? Have a job? We had two full days of appointments for her last week. One was with a geneticists. We talked about a lot. But one thing she said stuck with me the most. When we were discussing all her therapies and things we can do to help her be successful, she said that while those things are all very important, the most important thing we can do is love her. And interact with her. And read with her. And do all the things we would do with our other two kids. I think the most important thing we can do for any of our kids is believe in them. And make sure they know it.

Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.

Lady Bird Johnson

A Year of Growth

Today I have found myself back at a very familiar place. Sanford Children’s Hospital. Lainey has appointments today and tomorrow. And I can…not…believe…it has been a year already. One year since she blessed our lives. One year since our lives changed. One year of having felt every emotion there is. One year of growth.

When you find yourself going through trials in life, I think you end up putting your head down and plowing through. You do what you need to do because you have no choice. And it’s not until you have gotten through it all and can look up and take a breathe that you reflect on what all happened. I have lately found myself reflecting a lot on this past year. And it wasn’t until looking at some pictures and video clips that I thought, “wow”. Did that all really happen? I mean, yes, it was a crazy time while going through it all and we felt it. The first night I got to go out and spending time with my friends I found myself in the bathroom crying because it all just sort of hit me. So it’s not like this is the first time I’ve looked back. But one year is a big deal. Especially when I remember feeling like we were living in 1 – 1/2 hour increments and crossing our fingers her next bottling would go better. A year away seemed impossible. But here we are. I put those pictures and videos clips into one video. I hope to look back on this video 5, 10 years down the road, still proud of how we plowed through. And I hope to show the video to Lainey someday and tell her how strong of a little girl she is.