Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rites of Passage

One of my favorite places to be is our cabin.  Nestled in the woods "up north", our family always enjoys great times at the cabin.  It was originally built as a hunting shack, but has become something much more these last couple years.  Kevin has brought the girls up there for "dads and kids" weekends while I've been away scrapbooking and whatnot, and it has been brought to my attention that weekends with dads only are much more fun...because they allow more candy eating.  In fact, while I refer to the cabin as "the cabin", the kids often call it "candyland."

Well, Sam got to enjoy Memorial weekend at the cabin with us.  It was the most relaxing weekend we've had since Sam's arrival  And it was fun!!  We own the cabin with two of our closest friends and their families.  Altogether, there were six adults and ten kids in the cabin, ranging from 8 weeks old to 14 years.

Boys love mud and things that go vroom, right?  Sam will be no different!  What boy, young or old, wouldn't LOVE to hop on a 4-wheeler and go cruising down the road or through the mud?  And how many 8-week old infants can say they've ridden on a 4-wheeler?  All the moms got to escape for a long walk Saturday afternoon, and in my state of relaxation, I lost track of time and nearly missed one of Sam's feedings!  We were about a mile and a half from the cabin when he started fussing.  Sam doesn't fuss, so I knew something was up.   Sure enough, after checking the time, I realized that he was probably hungry.  So dad came to the rescue on the 4-wheeler and gave us a ride back to the cabin.  Snug in his infant carrier while I held it close, Sam took his first 4-wheeler ride!  He had a look of wonder on his face the whole way back - I think he liked it!  It was definitely a rite of passage from baby boy to big boy!  (Sam also had his first wood tick.  Ewe.  Luckily it wasn't attached!  That's all I really need to say about that....ewe.)

Even before Sam was born, we planned all the great things our family would do at the cabin.  When we go there, it's all about fun, no rules and making great memories.  After Sam's diagnosis, I think there was a part of me that thought our family would change so much in the sense of what we'd be able to do as a family.  I don't know why I ever thought like that, because I was so wrong.  Of course, Sam and I didn't partake in the making of mud-pies with the girls this past weekend, but I would bet my left arm that he'll be out there too in a few years.   We are so lucky in that Sam will run and play just like the other kids.  He'll learn to drive those 4-wheelers, he'll learn to shoot pop cans like the other kids, and someday, he'll spend precious weekends at the cabin with dad bear baiting and hunting.

I'm not going to lie, there are still days (like yesterday for instance) when the words "Down syndrome" cast a shadow on so much of what I should just be enjoying about my new baby.  Too often I dwell on all the what if's and maybes.   Saying that we take it one day at a time is easier said than done, because we have to wake up everyday and literally tell ourselves, again, to take it one day at a time.

I am happy to say though, that Sam's teachers and therapists are treating him as though he will progress just the same as any other child would.  We were asked to describe our family dynamics and what our hopes and dreams for Sam are, and my response was: "We are an active family, and always on the go.  Our hope for Sam is that he can be active and keep up with all of us."

We just want his life to be full of precious memories just like ours will be.  Sam is two months old today, and already we've created some pretty precious moments.  And I do truly know that even with the days that I feel our joy is overshadowed by our new life with DS, there are many precious memories yet to be made and there are many "rites of passage" yet to experience with our little man.  I understand they're going to happen according to Sam's time, but each one will be exciting and rewarding.  He's going to do great things - heck, he's only two months old and he's already changing lives.

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