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Not too long ago the enormous unknown of what a baby with a cleft would be like made me feel like I was stepping off some sort of life cliff . Amidst all this emotion, one message was clearly sent to us via fellow believers.

We were the parents that God had chosen to have Jack.
Thank you Mom, Tami, Pastor…

10/10/08 proved to be a huge step for our family. It was a LEAP into another LOVE relationship. Instant was my bond with Jack as he was held by my face. His cries immediately stopped when he heard my voice.

Wow.

And now a year has passed. Has it been hard? Yes. But not in the ways I anticipated. It was not hard to show Jack off. It was not hard to take him to his many appointments (thanks Starbucks at the bottom of Doernbechers). It was not hard to love that smile. It was hard to tape his precious face. It was hard to pump a million—make that two million bottles. It was hard to hand him to an OHSU employee for 7 hours.

It was hard to change the face I had so completely fallen in love with. The face that had initially carried news that terrified me. That precious face.

I feel like I am on another side so to speak. I am thankful for the experience of “crossing over” to TRULY love and appreciate beyond the appearance—the cleft or other “deformity” that may be present in those we meet–to see people in the amazing way God has created them. I am proud of the compassion this year has built into Anthony’s, Allie’s, and my life. Is this what I thought my life would hold? No–it is far richer! Are the future medical procedures daunting? Yes. Would I choose the same path again if I had known?

A thousand times YES.

Baby chubs.
Dimples.
Wide Smiles.
Chortle-like giggles.
Mama.
Hugs.
Peek-a-boo.
Scoot scoot scoot.
Slobbery kisses.
Chocolate eyes.
Jackers.

Happy Birthday to the baby that lights up a room with his smile!

Psalm 139:14
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.