Friday, May 27, 2011


Today, Kaetlyn is one year old.  ONE WHOLE YEAR.  Wow.

So, you might've guessed that Kaetlyn let me (her Mom) have at it on the blog tonight. We had a big day and I felt that, since I've been crafting this post in my head for weeks now, I should finally write it down.  I can't believe a year has passed since our sweet girl FINALLY decided (36 hours into labor) to come into this world.  What a ride the year has been.  Turns out Holland is not such a bad place...

When we found out that Kaety would have Down Syndrome when I was 4 months pregnant, my heart felt the deepest sorrow it had ever known.  I had waited so long for this baby; we knew her, we loved her, but now were faced with such fear, such ache, such sorrow.  The kind of sorrow where you can't even cry hard enough to get it out. The kind of sorrow where your throat constricts, your knees go weak, and there seems there will never be enough to fill that hole in your heart.  Enough.  I worried SO MUCH about Enough.  How could I possibly be what this little girl needed?  How could that sorrow ever turn to joy?  But we, my husband and I, knew how much we already loved her.  We knew she was something special, and we knew that maybe Enough was to give her a chance.

All the reading and studying we did following her diagnosis was, for us, preparation.  We studied books and tried to learn all we could about DS.  And it was scary.  And that sorrow threatened to consume.  I started reading blogs of all the other Mommies out there with babies with a little something extra.  We found our local ARC and DS Community and realized how HOPEFUL these people were.  I recently realized that at that time, I don't even remember that part of my pregnancy because we focused so much on the DS, not on the fact we were going to have a baby...until one day, two months after we found out...  We had read ENOUGH.  You can never prepare yourself for the unknown; you can never know what you will walk into...and sometimes it turns out to be the biggest blessing you will ever know. 

I have found that the Moms I've "met" in the blogging community have helped me more than anything I read in a book...getting to know them and their kids has meant the world to us.  It's not by accident that this community is what led us to focus not on the DS, but back on our pregnancy.  Through the blogging community, we stumbled upon a poem that meant more to us than anything we had read and through that, we started focusing on having a baby.  A BABY!  That poem was "Three Angels"...  I want to share it here because it helped me so much, because it truly describes how we feel about Kaetlyn...



Once upon a time, three angels were busily working in the miracle factory.  They were responsible for wrapping up all the little miracles and sending them on their way.  Normally they wrapped each one in bright, sturdy paper with big, shiny ribbons.  They stamped it with a delivery date and away it would go to the parents who eagerly awaited its arrival.  Things usually ran pretty smoothly.  One day, however, down the conveyor belt came a little miracle that made the angels pause.

"Oh my," said the first angel.  "This one's uhm...well...different."

"Yes, she is unique."  said the second angel.

"Well I think she is quite special," said the first angel, "but I don't think she will quite fit our standard wrapping procedures."

And the second angel added, "And we know she's special, but will everyone else?"

"Not a problem," said the third angel.  "Obviously a special miracle deserves extra special wrapping; and of course, we'll send her off with our most heartfelt blessings.  Then everyone will see how special she is."

"What a wonderful idea!" replied the others.

So they searched the shelves high and low for their finest paper, and their most delicate ribbons.  When they were done, they stood back and admired their work.  "Beautiful!" they all agreed.

"Now for our blessings," said the third angel, "for it is time for her to go."

"I will bless her with innocence and happiness," said the first angel.

"And I will bless her with strength to face the many challenges that lie ahead," said the second angel.

"And I will bless her with an inner beauty that will shine on all who look upon her," said the third angel.

Before sending her off, the third angel, who was very wise, gently tucked a note inside.  And it said:

Dear Parents,
Today you have received a very special gift.  It may not be what you were expecting, and you may be disappointed, angry and hurt.  But please know that she comes with many blessings, and, while there may be pain, she will bring you much joy.  She will take you on a very difficult journey, but you will meet many wonderful people.  She will teach you patience and understanding and make you reach deep inside yourselves to find a source of strength and faith you never knew you had.  She will enrich your lives, and will touch the hearts of all who meet her.  She may be fragile, but she has great inner strength.  So pleases handle her with care, give her lots of attention, shower her with hugs and kisses, love her with all your heart and she will blossom before your eyes.  Her spirit will shine like the brightest star for all to see, and you will know that you are truly blessed.

Our Special Gift - 12 hours old...
So, fast forward a year.  Here we are.  Our Kaety-girl is ONE YEAR OLD. 

I am truly blessed.  Enough?  Is the joy of her Enough? Our Kaety is SO SO MUCH MORE than I could ever have imagined.  Every day I look into those crystal blue eyes with their brushfield spots, I see laughter, dancing, mischief, love.  Oh yes, LOVE.  MORE than I could ever have hoped.  She is the most amazing thing to ever happen in my life.  That original sorrow and fear?  I wish I could tell myself of a year and a half ago not to worry so much!  Are they still there sometimes when I worry about her future, or wonder how she will be with her soon-to-arrive little sister?   Yes, they're fact I still worry about her future life every day.  What will happen as she gets older and the gap between her peers widens? (I am sure I will not be very nice the first time someone is not nice to her!) Will she be independent?  Will she go to college?  What will her adult life be like? But the reality is that every parent feels fears and worries about the future with any child.  The reality for my husband and I is to take things day by day, to deal with the now, to experience all that having her in our lives can give us. 

On this, her first birthday, I can't believe how LUCKY we were that those three angels picked us, that Kaety's little soul looked down and said, "I want that family," that she chose us, and that we were given the opportunity to know her...

To you out there, thanks for sharing in each week of her first year, for helping us through, for being with us...  We'll continue to update and write about Kaety's goings on, of course (this girl is unstoppable!).  It just seems like SUCH a huge milestone, though I know there will be many, many more.  But...ONE YEAR.  Wow.



  1. Happy Birthday Miss Kaetlyn! You are awesome-- and have a very special Mommy! Hugs to you both!

  2. YEAH!! one year old!! Happy Happy Birthday...such a cute cake and Kaetlyn so sweet...I love this post...your emotion and feelings of having a beautiful you loved her before she was here...I think sometimes we get wrapped up in a diagnosis and forget that we loved and dreamed about our child...and how our kiddos never disappoint...Happy first year...I have truly loved watching Kaetlyn grow!! smiles

  3. I think those angels knew what they were doing when they chose you and Steve to parent Kaetlyn! You were always destined to be the best mommy ever, no matter what surprises your children had in store for you. Kaetlyn is truly a joy with a vibrant personality (like her mommy), and yes, you will have ENOUGH love for two little girls (and one big sister)!

  4. Hey, it's Ms. Audrey! I am in TEARS after reading this and going back the 9 months I got to spend with Kaetlyn. The only thing keeping me from tears at her birthday party was the thought that I get her a little longer and then she's going to hand me over to her baby sister. I keep saying over and over that Kaetlyn has grown soooo much since we started together. From tummy time with her poor face in the floor to walking alongside the shelves in the classroom! I feel truly blessed to be able to be a part of her first year! I just LOVE my "Kaety-do"! She woke a spirit in me that I want to be able to share with other infans like her. I know she'll get to meet new teachers and they'll get to enjoy her loving personality, but I hope she remembers that I GOT TO LOVE HER FIRST!
    Happy Birthday Kaetlyn!

  5. Kelly: When you were a couple days old and I was a very young father of 25, I held you in my arms and for the first time in my life I KNEW what true love was. I have tried to express that emotion to all "younger" people about to have children and I'm not sure they believed me . . . until they held their own child close to their breast for the first time.
    That Kaety is special just makes that emotion all the more intense. I am so proud of you; as a person, as a daughter, as a wife and as a mother. Together, you and Steve are a force for good in a troubled world and your force is multiplied a hundred-fold by Kaety. No father could be more proud of his daughter, more loving of his son-in-law and more fortunate to have a little girl like Kaetlyn as his granddaughter. We are truly blessed . . . I love you.

  6. OMG; that so made me tear up and more. These pics are priceless; can't wait to share in the ongoing celebration with Kaety and the fam tomorrow. For the record: she's amazing, and so are you (Steve too; and I feel blessed to have all of you in my life. Biggest of hugs. Rach

  7. Hey Kiddo - your mom writes well but you write much better ! We love you and miss all of you. We glad we can be with her when she reads, maybe she'll recognize our voices the next time we come visit.

  8. Happy belated first birthday to your beautiful girl!