Time for a major celebration!! It’s Kelsey’s first birthday! A whole year is behind us and over the past few days I have been thinking a lot about all that has happened over this 12 month period. It was on this day last year that my life would change forever. When I think back to the events of the day, I can’t help but get a little teary-eyed. As I sit typing this, big tears are falling down my cheeks; okay so maybe a little more than teary-eyed. Why? I have no clue. I am fine. Really Mom, I’m fine. Kelsey is incredible and to watch her perseverance is amazing. But as I recall the sequence of events on the day of her birth, I can’t help but be a little sad when I remember telling friends and family about Kelsey and reliving their reactions.
As I sat in my hospital bed on the phone with my friend, I told her the news of Kelsey’s dwarfism. She reacted just like everyone else by saying, “What!? Really?” Then, my nurse walked into my room and I handed the phone to JJ so he could talk to her while I spoke with the nurse. “She hung up,” he said. I wondered why. When I called her back, she told me that she hung up because she was crying and she couldn’t talk. We laughed then, but now I cry. The only thing I can figure about my tears refers back to the Welcome to Holland poem. Please read it if you haven’t already, what I’m about to say may sound harsh if you aren’t familiar with the poem. Maybe my tears are a way of mourning the loss of the child who I was expecting to meet on June 12… that would never come to be. The baby I have is amazing, but still, the the baby I thought I was going to have was a significant loss and although I am overjoyed that we are all in good health on Kelsey’s 1st birthday, I can’t help but to also describe this day as a little bittersweet as well. Can anyone out there relate to this feeling?
Kelsey is doing very well. Sure, she is a little slow to reach milestones and still weaker than most babies her age. Upon her diagnosis I learned that is to be expected, so for me she is right on target with where she should be and I am happy with that. As a friend once told me, all that means is that I’ll get to hold her a little longer. But the scary part is the uncertainty. I know Kelsey will naturally adapt to her environment and we will make all of the modifications that are necessary. I know that we can help her to overcome the physical obstacles and together we can learn how to make things physically easier for her. But, how will the ‘being different’ affect her? I know its inevitable that she will have moments of insecurity, I know she will face non physical challenges that will be even more difficult to over come than the physical ones. Will people accept her and her differences? This is my biggest worry and fear although I try to put it aside for now. I know that people will stare. But I also know that people will stare because they are fascinated by her. I am fascinated. Just because I am more familiar with dwarfism than most people does not mean that I don’t find the condition fascinating. Will she understand this? How will she react, and most importantly how will I react? I already find myself imagining situations and practicing my response. I know it will be hard but I must remember to show her the way. This will be difficult for me. Any parent out there reading this can relate, I’m sure. My instinct will most certainly not be the calm, gentle, understanding reaction that I would hope to see from her. I will continue to practice. I can only take things day by day and address these challenges as they’re upon us. My mom always said to me that the anticipation is often the best part. However in this case, its the worst. My imagination takes me places that I don’t want to go. Not yet anyway. She is so special. She is beautiful. I hope to do everything in my power so that she can live a very happy life filled with joy and great memories.
After I process all of these thoughts I must remind myself, she is simply short. There is nothing that can hold her back. I never imagined that I would have to raise a child with unordinary challenges, but this is where I find myself now. I know I have been given this task for a reason, so I will continue to stay positive and make the best life possible for my sweet Kelsey baby. Today, I will take a few moments to be sad as I remember learning of her diagnosis 1 year ago… And then I will put the tears aside and celebrate this wonderful day that God blessed me, JJ, Annie and the rest of our family with the most beautiful gift I could have ever imagined. Today, we will celebrate her big beautiful brown eyes with the longest lashes, her tiny sweet face and that silly tongue that is always sticking out, her head full of long black ‘crazy hair’ as Annie calls it, and of course… the softest sweetest fat rolls on every part of her 17 lb. body! I could not be more proud to be Kelsey’s mother. Happy 1st Birthday to my sweet Kelsey Q.