Two years have flown by with a quickness.
Two years ago today, I was excited to welcome our fourth child into the fold of our family. As a family, we prepared for the new addition of a beautiful baby girl who we could cuddle, love on and cherish as the last addition to our brood.
The boys were so excited that they researched YouTube how to change a diaper. They were relieved to know that they would be getting a baby sister, because they learned that girls are easier to change than boys because of the possible pee stream. Gia was so happy that she would finally have a sister. She had been listening to me all her life, telling her how important it was that I had my sisters…and how rich and beautiful my life was, because of their constant love, attention and presence.
When Gellibean was born, we were not prepared for the fact that she had Down Syndrome. My pregnancy was uneventful up until about the 36th week, when my doctor mentioned in passing that my daughter might have Duodenal Atresia. (YES. I did just say that my doctor mentioned “in passing” that my daughter MIGHT have duodenal atresia. I will write about this. One day. When I’m not so angry at her. And when I can write about it for a purpose…like for patient rights and the responsibility of doctors in this country.)
When the shock of my daughter’s diagnosis wore off, Nino and I were faced with the reality that our then, hours old baby would have to go into surgery-something clicked. It was like a switch. While I had been wondering what kind of life my child would have with special needs and was busy being completely wrapped up inside my own head with the overwhelming emotions of guilt and sadness, the prospect that her life could suddenly be taken away helped me realize that God was teaching me a lesson.
My experiences with Gelli have often opened my eyes to the great many wonders that He wants me to learn or observe. I can only realize this because of the gift of her extra chromosome.
Evangelina means “God’s Gift.” Gianina wanted to name her baby sister Evangeline from the very start. Diego gave her the name “Gelli” when we were taking about nicknames from another name we were considering, which was Angelina. (Miguel chose Angelina.) We ended up combining these two names after she was born for one of the most important reasons.
We knew that God gave her to our family for a reason. It was through “God’s gift” of my daughter, that I was brought to my knees in my faith. And as it has always been shared by others-when you are brought to your knees in your faith, God is giving you an opportunity for your faith to be restored into something MORE than it was before.
I have learned a great many things since Gelli has come into my life and given me the chance to be her mother. One very important lesson I learned on the day that Gelli was born is that “health is wealth.” I realized very quickly that our health is of the utmost importance when raising our families and caring for our children. Our world can stop on a dime if one of our children is sick and we are helpless to do anything about it.
While I will save the details of Gellibean’s party for another post, I did want to share another lesson that God has taught me through my daughter. I prepared for Gelli’s 2nd celebration with a few things in mind. I wanted to keep it under budget, (I’m a mom of four kids. I’m always on a budget.) I wanted it to be super special for Gelli and for her guests, and I wanted personal touches and details all through out the party to signify the love and attention I try to give her every day. I was able to do all of this and more with the help of some very special people.
I have learned that there are just some people who can bring out the best in others. While, I know that Gelli certainly brings out the best in me, (and challenges me to look in the mirror sometimes, even when I’m not ready to) I also realize that she brings out the love and generosity in others as well. Friends and friends of friends were all so generous, and open, and loving, when it came to helping make Gellibean’s 2nd birthday celebration special for her.
I’m sure I will experience many more life lessons through out my time with all of my children here on this Earth. I hope that I can continue to learn from each experience, each person, each moment, as I did in the weeks preparing for Gelli’s birthday party. There are good people out there. People who are willing to do so much for my daughter. And knowing that makes me think that maybe, just maybe she will understand just how much love there is for her, not just in my heart but in the hearts of others as well. I do know that the love everyone has show my daughter as we prepared for and celebrated her birthday was so overwhelming that it brought me to tears.
Tears of gratitude. Tears of Love. Tears of Happiness.