Sunday, February 18, 2007

Keva's 12th Birthday Letter

Dear Keva,

You, my sweet one, were born 12 years ago today. At the very first moment I saw your face, my life was changed.

I said to the doctor, "She's Down Syndrome, isn't she."

"Yes, I believe so," the doctor replied with anxious eyes, not sure how I'd respond as you were whisked away, "We'll need to do some tests to know for sure, but I believe so. Right now, she needs to go to Pediatric ICU. She's having trouble breathing."

The doctor continued speaking to me, telling me how loving Down Syndrome children were and how they contributed in their own special way to society. Little did she know that she didn't have to worry about me not loving you, Keva. You were already -- just like each of my other children -- a part of my heart.

Little did I know how big of a chunk you would take.

So began a journey for Keith and for me with many ups and downs, pains and joys, as we cared for you through heart surgery, eye surgery, major constipation issues, low muscle tone, and slow developmental milestones.

However, we have striven to keep you, Keva, right there in the midst of the family. Just part of the gang. We've all grown kinder, more patient, not so much in a rush . . . because of you. One thing I missed so much, though, Keva, was that you did not smile much and you never laughed or giggled. In fact, it was nearly impossible to even maintain eye contact.

I decided that I needed to make sure I talked to you like I would any other baby. The relationship had to mature even if it was mostly one-sided. So, during baths, I'd sing to you and you would clap. When I changed you, I'd talk to you. When we went in the car, the noise of family swirled around you. You sat at the table and ate amidst conversations and developing table manners.

Then, something began to happen. You started to react more, interact and even initiate. We were all thrilled. It was never anything really big for someone on the outside looking in, but for those of us inside, closest to your heart, it was HUGE!

You JUMPED right along with Keri Lynn when singing a song.

You GIGGLED when I tickled you! For the first time, I heard your VOICE and I was enchanted.

You GRINNED when you did something naughty, like pull Kody's ears.

You THREW food across the table and LAUGHED about it.

You PICKED something up, CLOSED a door, TURNED on a light -- all in answer to instruction.

It is my very dear wish that someday you'll be able to talk, but I'm okay with it if you don't, because I know that someday in the presence of God you will not only talk, but you'll debate and encourage. You won't just walk, but you'll skip and run. You won't just giggle, but you'll tell your own corny joke, and we'll ALL laugh in turn! Someday, Keva, I'll get to meet you for who you really are and in the meantime I hope that the Lord finds me faithful in my care for you.


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