Wednesday, March 23, 2011

We think we know, but . . .

we have no idea.

I have made a lot of friends online who share a very specific life experience with us -- the day we found out our kids would have the permanent disability called spina bifida. Most of us heard the news while pregnant and sitting in a doctor's office after a high-resolution ultrasound. Our stories all have different details, but the overwhelming majority were given the option to terminate. Don't worry; this isn't a rant about that, but oh boy, could I go there. My boys had SB before we had even named them: baby A and baby B were going to face some pretty enormous difficulties in life, and at that time, we didn't know exactly what those would be.

That day, our doctor made one specific argument for termination that has always bugged me, and honestly, it still does: "Think about what you will be doing to your little girl if you have these babies." Ellie Marie was about 18 months old when we received the boys' diagnosis. She would be 22 months old when they were born. This was the first day we had heard this heart-wrenching news and he had the nerve to tell me to think about Ellie? He had never met Ellie! He didn't know me. He had no idea what kind of family we were. Did he think I hadn't considered that having two physically challenged brothers might make Ellie's life a little tougher?

Of course, we knew that Ellie would be fine -- she has always been a trooper and honestly, it didn't matter. We didn't have a choice to make; God had already made it when he gave us the boys (it was done deal already; seemed crazy to me that this doctor thought we had a say so). But I guess I still think about what the doctor said and wonder what Ellie thinks about our family and all the craziness that is our life.

This brings me to the story I sat down to write today:

I was a little sad when we found out Ellie had to get glasses at 3 years old; I'm not sure why, but it was probably about not wanting to cover up her sweet little face. I worried about her not adjusting well to them or getting teased when she got older. Well, turns out she doesn't mind them at all. We also get to go up to Shreveport every 2 months for an ophthalmology check-up since she is using an eye patch to strengthen her weak eye. She used to hate doctors but doesn't mind this one (no shots). PLUS, I was thinking that this gave her a mommy day without her brothers; they were usually the ones I had to take to Shreveport while she was in school, since ALL our docs are there.

I was very excited that this past visit was early enough for us to play around in town afterwards -- just Ellie and me! And boy, did we! We shopped, we rode the trolley and the carousel, we played at the playground and ate popcorn shrimp at Joe's Crab Shack -- and she even had a sip or two of Coke (big deal when someone other than a grandparent lets her do that!). I sat there at lunch thinking she must think it is such a relief not to wait around for us to load wheelchairs, change diapers, fill sippy cups, help the boys slide, stop them from eating the rocks, and all that stuff. Instead, she looked up from her bucket 'o shrimp and exclaimed, "Mommy, we need to come back here, but we need to bring the boys next time! They would  really like that trolley, and they could watch me climb on the playground. They like doing that. And you and Daddy could hold them on the horsies at the carousel, too!"

I'm such an idiot. That girl missed her brothers. She is not just alright with them being in her life; she's blessed. She's not even 4 yet, and she gets it. She knows that when you love someone, you don't mind the inconveniences that come along with the deal. You still miss them when they're not here. I'm so thankful that our boys are here.

And that doctor doesn't know jack. Or Woody. Or Ellie.

Monday, March 21, 2011

God Bless Elmo

I am thankful for a lot of things: love, life, health, forgiveness, my home, my family, my job, joy, peace -- all that stuff.

and ELMO.

I could kiss that little red muppet. I want to shout it from the rooftops: "God Bless You, Elmo!"

"Elmo's World" aires for the last 20 minutes of Sesame Street, and for about 20 minutes, all three of my little ones will sit nicely and watch educational TV. Lately, my two-year-old boys will bite, hit, and pull hair if they are within arm's reach of one another (or not, in Jack's case, as he's rolling and scooting all over the place now). And there aren't too many things that 2 year-olds and an almost 4 year-old have in common. And then there was Elmo recorded on the DVR and ready for quick access.

We reserve Elmo for those emergenecy times when we can't have our eyes directly on the kids for whatever reason, or maybe I just need a few minutes to do A, B, or C without the disruption of fighting, whining, or unexpected messes. And yes; almost every day there is an appropriate occasion for the use of Elmo -- oh who am I kidding: every day.

You have come to my rescue and salvaged what was left of my sanity on many an afternoon, Elmo, and today, I salute you.