Monday, October 22, 2012

Day 22

About a week ago I emailed Tera's grandparents and aunts and uncles and asked them several questions related to how Tera has affected and/or changed them.  I'm going to post the responses I've received so far over the next few days and add more as I get them.  Needless to say they all made me tear up in some way or another and I'm excited to share them so everyone knows just how amazing our family is.  Please keep in mind that I asked my family for honesty as it is something that I constantly strive for here.  I have been as honest as possible when describing my fears and emotions and I appreciate that they gave me the same thing.

The first question I asked was how Tera's diagnosis has changed their way of thinking, if at all.
When hearing about our little bundle of joy having special needs I thought about all the people I've seen through the years with Down Syndrome. They always look so happy. Do they know something we don't? Is their difference a blessing in disguise? She is definitely a blessing.

It made me more aware of DS and now that I have had a couple of classes, when given the opportunity I write my papers on the subject.

Frankly, it hasn't.  I'm not sure why.  It could be that I've always truly and seriously considered the possibility that a child of a family member or friend might be born with a challenge and thus to some extent was prepared on some level.  I was more affected by the sadness expressed by everyone else, and greatly proud of the manner in which you and Tom dealt with the situation.  It could also be a result of having grown up with a mentally disabled older son of the people who lived behind us.  He was quite a bit older than the rest of us, didn't have the same condition, but his mental state was like a very young boy.  Pleasant and eager to help.  At the same time, another older of two boys on the other side of the block was also "slow" but not so bad that he couldn't hang with those of us who were a few years younger, though his brother treated him poorly.  Later, a cousin of mine had a child with Down Syndrome.  Nice boy who is now an adult and said to be working and earning.  So, though, like most anyone, I'd prefer that the three of you didn't have this to deal with, Tera's condition makes absolutely no difference to me.

What are you most of her for?
Her ability to sign. And her picking 2 of the best people in the world to have as parents. She really picked well. I'm just sayin'. Also how good she was while sitting in The Stanley Cup getting paparotzied with all the cameras going. She was a trooper.

Probably her walking, but really everything she does she does with so much energy and determination , she amazes me and I am so proud of her.

What were your initial thoughts/fears/worries, etc when she was born and you found out she had DS?
My initial fear was that she was born a Red Wings fan. That would have required major surgery to correct. Down Syndrome? Eh, that's nothing compared to being a Red Wings fan. On a serious note, I just wanted her to be healthy. No worries, just concerns. How can I be worried when she's got the best parents in the world? I knew she would love hockey - everything else is just a distraction.

The possible health issues and the extra pressures it would put on you both as parents.

I was concerned about the severity.  At the risking of offending, as this is an awkward thing, children with Down Syndrome have a distinct look.  It is almost as if they are all of the same family.  But to me, Tera does not "look" as if she is a severe case, if you get what I'm trying to say.  Of course, I was also concerned for you and continue to be so.  Being so much like your mother, I think you definitely get what I'm trying to say here.

So there's a bit of a preview of what I have to share.  I'll share some more of what they had to say, hopefully get a few more responses back, and also share some more overall thoughts and reflections.  Tomorrow I'm very proud to share one of my younger sister's beautifully written reflection.  We are truly lucky to have such phenomenal families and such an amazing support system.

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