I have three sons.
Andrew is four-and-a-half. He is smart as a whip, has a type-A personality, speaks with a British accent a lot thanks to Kipper the Dog, and his strength lately is interrupting. He's perfecting it to an art. Though he's exhausting, he's so fun to be around and has a very active imagination. He can already read, and I like to show him off like a circus animal.
Benjamin is two-and-a-half. He has Down syndrome. We didn't know until he was born, and it was the most life-changing moment ever. He has had open-heart surgery and a serious intestinal surgery. He is doing great physically, but struggles verbally. He is very sweet, curious, and has transformed my life in new ways I discover every day. He has made me re-examine everything in a new light. And I mean everything.
Thomas is five months old. He is BIG. And he is the happiest baby, so smiley and pleasant. He eats well and sleeps well, and is in one word: joy. If I never get my daughter (Katherine Elizabeth), I can tell that Thomas will be my kindred spirit. My bosom buddy. My Diana to my Anne with an "e."
I am married to Matthew. We will celebrate 10 years of marriage this November 19. We met in college, were friends in a large group for almost a year before he asked me to go on a date. I really didn't think it would go anywhere, but I said yes. After our first date, I could have gone either way. But somehow I fell for him. Quickly. In three months we were talking marriage, we were engaged in two more months, and married nine months later. He is my best friend. He is most definitely my better half. He is the best father. So patient, kind, and funny. A hardworker, and just one of the good ones. Ladies, you know what I mean. There are two types of guys. And he is one of the good ones.
We are very close to my family: my parents, two brothers, sister-in-law, cousins, aunts/uncles, etc. But we don't have contact with Matthew's family anymore. His parents especially. (We do talk to his brother on occasion.) I won't say much about that except that it was our choice to cut them out of our lives. But we did it to protect our children.
I am Angela. I'm 33 and I stay at home. I used to teach school, but now I run this crazy household. I am home all day with my three boys and my two FAT cats, Frank and Nancy. We have a nice house. God has blessed us immensely. I love my
Matthew and I always wanted four children. But since having Thomas, I think we might be finished. Well, to be honest, Matthew thinks we are finished. I go back and forth. I'd love a daughter. Not for the pink or the frilly clothes. Heck, my daughter would wear blue, most likely. But I want a daughter so that I can have what my mother and I have. I am very close with my mother. Being the only daughter with a brother on each side, my mom and I have always been friends. And now, as an adult and a mother, that relationship is very sacred to me. I know sons can be friends, but I just don't think it's the same. And I'm sad to think I might not have that in 15-20 years.
Having three children is hard. But having three children, when one of them has special needs, is super hard. Benjamin is just SO much work. Having a child with Down syndrome just changes things. It makes even just the normal things (running errands, going to church, going on vacations, going out to eat, playing in the yard, swimming in Mom's pool) more work, more complicated, and just plain difficult. Throwing another child in the mix would obviously make it more complex.
Plus Matthew's work schedule in the spring/early summer is CRAZY with travel. It was next-to-impossible not to lose my mind this year. I am hoping that he gets another job in a year or two, and that after B & A are in school that things will calm down and Matthew will want to have a fourth. Or I'm hoping we just "accidentally" get pregnant. And that it’s a girl. I almost think having another boy would be harder on my heart than not even having a fourth. Just being honest.
I still struggle with the Down syndrome. And to be even more honest, I kind of feel like a (self-imposed) outcast in the DS community. I feel like most of the other moms out there are sick of hearing my whining about how hard it is. About how I'm still struggling with the fact that this is my life now. I'm not an advocate. I don't do the Buddy Walk (to my credit, we have been out of town for every single one since B's been born). I don't go to the conferences. I don't boycott the celebrities who say the dastardly "r-word." I am not ashamed of the Down syndrome. I am not ashamed of my son.
It is just still too raw. Too painful. My heart just can't comprehend it all fully. I don't necessarily enjoy reading all the success stories about children/adults with DS who are graduating from high school, scoring touchdowns, being crowned homecoming queen, even getting married. I feel like I should enjoy reading them. It should give me hope. It should make me proud. But it doesn't. It just makes me sad. Discouraged.
I try not to dwell on it. I am generally a happy person. I enjoy life. I love TV and music. Matthew and I just went to a Maroon 5 concert last week, and it was nothing short of AMAZING. I like food, though I've just lost 18 pounds, and am working on losing 30 more. I like to be organized, and to keep my house straight and clean. But my heart is still broken. And I need more time.
I just felt the need to share that. Not for sympathy. Not for people to say, "Oh, you're doing so well, etc." Just to share. To let you know I'm human. We all have our struggles. No one is immune. Life is hard. God is good, though, and I know that He is in control.
I do love my family. I adore each and every one of my boys. I thank God for them, and I pray that He will help me sort through all these things so that I can fully embrace the life that He has given me. (Yes, I'm considering counseling, for those of you might be wondering...I'm working on it.) :)
And now, to reward you for reading all that blabber..........PICTURES!
I love Barney, and so do my boys. Don't judge!
Different day, different clothes, same routine. I love it.
I am *not* kidding. I took this from my shower. It's hard to get a break!
Getting all three in a picture, especially when I'm alone, is hard!
(Yes, know...no Bumbos on the table...don't lecture, please.)
I love my life. I really do. I struggle with things, like all of us do.
I have bad days.
I have self-esteem/self-image issues.
Somedays I don't shower. And not because I don't have time; I just don't wanna.
I sometimes talk bad about people when I shouldn't.
At heart, I'm very lazy.
I'm bossy; just ask anyone in my family.
I'm not the sweetest person, honestly.
I can count the number of my *good* friends on two hands. Maybe even one hand.
But I'm a sinner, saved by grace.
And I'm thankful for each day.
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.