I love the dynamics of my family and each person's relationship with one another. In this photo, taken an hour ago, Nicolas was patiently holding John Michael while I filled the bird feeders. Watching these two together always makes my heart melt. It was one of those moments where I dropped everything and ran for the camera. Thankfully, they obliged with nice smiles.
I haven't blogged about Nicolas because it would be easy to get on the bragging bandwagon with him. At 11 1/2, he stands at 5' 5", is a model student, a born leader, altar server, 2nd class Boy Scout, and sax player to name a few. He's kind and caring (although 9 yr old sister Anna may disagree) and makes us all proud. He is a dream son. I could go on, but I don't want this to sound like one of those over-the-top Christmas letters where the font on the page gets smaller and smaller to include every accolade and achievement EVER. :-)
When John Michael was born and we shared his diagnosis with our kids, Nicolas would often share his sadness with me at our nightly prayertime. He wasn't concerned about John Michael being different as much as he wanted him to be healthy and do things "normal" kids could do, like play Legos and ball. The two boys share a room, and as John Michael's personality developed, so did Nic's love for him. In the early morning hours before I would pick up John Michael to nurse, Nic would often get out of bed to give him a Binky to comfort him. Nic still does this, but on the rare occasion that Nic is still in bed when John Michael wakes up in the morning, the little guy will sit up on his knees, throw his Binky on the floor and reach out to Nic. It's so sweet.
Before Greta and John Michael were born, I used to have a recurring dream about a little blonde boy that would walk behind our family. At the time, I thought our family was complete, but always wondered if this was a message from God that He wanted us to welcome another child. Greta, being a girl and a redhead, didn't fit that particular dream, so I tucked it away. (That being said, Greta is a wonderful, joyful addition!) After John Michael was born, I wondered if this was the little blonde boy God wanted me to have -- the one who would walk a few steps behind, but always be part of our family. I'm now convinced that this is that little guy. I can still see the face of the little boy in my dream and I think it's symbolic that the little boy walked behind us to indicate John Michael's Down syndrome would perhaps slow us down a bit. In a good way. John Michael is literally my dream son -- a special and unique gift from God.
I've been married for 20 years to my wonderful husband, Doug. I'm a Catholic SAHM to 5 children. Our 4th child, John Michael, was born in November 2007, and has opened us up to the amazing world of Down syndrome. We are grateful to God for the blessings He's given us and the journey He's put us on. When I'm not spending time with my family, I sing with RSVP, an amazing vocal group, educate on Down syndrome, have my own health and wellness business, and blog about our life.