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What is Success, Anyway?

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Recently, we spent some time with another family with two children, one of whom has Down syndrome and is the same age as Henry. I don't often feel comfortable enough to share my fears about our future, but I did with them. I told them that I am really scared. I see many other families with kids with Down syndrome sharing their day to day lives truthfully. They share that vacations are hard. They share that school is hard. There are countless meetings. They share that hospital bills are bankrupting them.
They share that they are tired, and that the challenges their children with Down syndrome present make life harder. Are they entitled to share their opinion truthfully for all to see?
Without a doubt. 100%. Does their reality scare and worry me about my future and the future of my family?
Without a doubt. 100%. I worried aloud about my son's future successes -- or possible lack thereof. I worried aloud what this meant for our family and for our other son. I shared all o…

To Henry, On Your First Birthday

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Dear Henry,
     I have this tradition of writing letters to Eli on his birthdays to tell him how much he amazes me each year, and how happy I am to get to be his mom.
Now, it is your turn.
You are one! This has been the fastest, wildest, hardest and most wonderful year of my life.

To see what you have gone through in your first trip around the sun while still managing to be happy and easy going is humbling. Your strength and bravery is inspiring. You smile during blood draws,  you wake up from surgery with a smile on your face. I never knew an infant could be my hero until I met you.
One of your many echocardiograms this year.
After your adenoidectomy and ear tubes. You did so well!
You make me a better person every day. I am more patient, kind, grateful and happy because you joined our family.
You have also helped your brother to become an even more caring person. I remember the night we brought you home, trying to read a book about brothers to Eli. I couldn't get through it;…

You Can't Pour From An Empty Cup

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Being a mom is the hardest job I have ever had. I have struggled with juggling it all -- my career, finding child care, doing the laundry, cleaning floors, grocery shopping, cooking, paying bills, lighting candles and spraying Febreze so my house doesn't smell like cat -- and raising two tiny humans on top of that. You know, humans who need food and drinks and baths and pull every single toy out while you try to take a four minute shower. One of my tiny humans happens to have multiple appointments per week that I am in charge of coordinating and getting us all to. Usually conveniently right around nap time.
You get the idea. You know what I'm saying because this is probably your reality, too. Even if you are one of the lucky ones with a very supportive partner, it can still be completely and totally overwhelming.
You give 110% of everything you have to everyone around you -- to your kids, to your partner, to your colleagues -- and there's never much left for you. Maybe at…

Overhearing the "R Word"

My day started innocently enough. I woke up with the kids, fed and entertained them. Had a few extra minutes so I decided to take care of an errand. I stopped in to our local animal hospital, VCA Shoreline in Shelton, to pay a bill. One of the techs at the front desk used the word "retarded". Her coworker told her she shouldn't use the word, and she said "No, I dont think disabled people are retarded. I'm ACTUALLY retarded."What does that even mean? That doesn't make any sense, and it's not the least bit funny.Retarded is not an acceptable synonym for ANY word. You use it instead of stupid, dumb, lame, pointless. Is that what my child is? No, he is absolutely NOT.I'm shaking I'm so mad. I'm mad at myself for not explaining to her how hurtful that word is to me, my family, and millions of others around the world. But I dont think I could have done it without yelling or crying....neither of which would have been very helpful. I didnt catch…

Greatest Joys and Greatest Fears

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Life has been a little tough for me to sort through lately. One minute I'm happy, the next I am crying my eyes out.
As my first born hits three, I am filled with so much excitement for him. He is learning so many new things every day, and he will start to be allowed to participate in more things now that he is three. He is counting down the days until he starts hockey! It's challenging at times, but most days with Eli are filled with laughter and hope for all of his possibilities.
As my baby approaches one, I am nearly paralyzed with fear. I see how quickly we got to one year old. I blinked, and we are here. All of those problems that I know are coming for Henry seemed so far off. Now, we they seem on the horizon. Problems like not hitting his gross motor or speech milestones. Problems like surgeries and procedures. Problems like putting him on a bus, sending him to school, and trusting that the people there are taking care of him, knowing that he won't have the words to…

Dear Doctor -- Part One

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Dear Doctor,      I have a terrible memory. I forget things easily. I do not, however, forget you. If I heard your voice in the middle of a million other voices, I could pick it out. Yours was the voice that broke --no, shattered -- my heart.
    I didn't know you. You weren't our usual pediatrician, just the one on duty the morning after we welcomed Henry just before midnight the day before. You were young, with a sweet face. The nurses told me you would be coming to "discuss things further". We waited for you to arrive, and I hoped you had some good news. You knocked on the hospital room door and entered. The same hospital room we visited on our tour when I was pregnant. I almost puked on the way home from our hospital tour, I was so scared to go through childbirth again. Little did I know how much my life would change in that very room a few months later. Childbirth would have been the least of my worries. 
    You weren't the first to mention to me the wor…

The Day I Called Dibs on a Person

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I lived in a condo with two other girls my graduate year of college. 
As luck would have it, there were three guys from Quinnipiac in the unit next to us. We never really saw these mysterious neighbors of ours. I didn't care about it too much, though. I had it in my mind that I was moving to Colorado in a few months. I had put up a proverbial wall, and I was not looking for a relationship of any kind. I was counting down the days until I was out of Connecticut. I hated Connecticut. I hated love. I wanted out.
Until one September night.
My roommates and a couple friends decided to go out to a bar. We had a few drinks in our basement. It was college, afterall. Someone suggested inviting the guys from next door, so we decided to do it. Two of them ended up coming over, and told us that the other roommate was asleep. My roommate and I decided it would be a wonderful idea to wake him up. Ah, alcohol.
Off we went to his bedroom, banging on the door, screaming his name. "TIM! CO…