Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome


on December 17, 2017

Four beautiful years of joy.

There is no other way to describe them really, not in a word. Certainly we experience fear, frustration, sadness, hope, exhaustion… but in every moment, also a great joy in her presence.

I always get emotional at this time of the year. It’s not the stress of the holidays, nor the deadlines that loom when wrapping up a semester grading period. My breath catches in my chest each and every time I think of her birth – of the moment when I finally held her in my arms, listening to my doctor calm our rattled brains… My mind travels to the mundane… helping our visitors to the hospital scrub into the NICU before seeing Tessa, eating our cake on the night before discharge, child-free, trying to hitch a ride to the hospital to see her, not able to drive quite yet after having an epidural.

I think about the emotions of having two children and not being fully present for either one. The crying quietly in the shower, desperate to be able to be all of the mom that Ellie needed through the holidays, and all of the mom that Tessa needed to heal enough to come home. The fear that we would not be enough for her, or for either of them really. And also being completely enamored with each little finger and toe of this little stranger… that feeling, above all else, I feel like it was yesterday this time of the year.

I have felt simultaneously like the years are flying past at breakneck speed, while also creeping along in blessed slow motion. With Tessa, there is time to savor, to drink in every phase for all of its good and all of its challenges. It feels peaceful.

It also feels wild.

She is high energy – walks fast talks fast dances and moves and runs fast. She can’t do some of the things that four-year-olds can do. But she can do some things that most people will never be able to do in their whole lives.

I don’t know precisely why Tessa was sent to us, but I know that we are more complete with her. Her presence has been a gift that our family needed… that I needed. In her life, there is purpose, there is hope, there is love – and joyfully, we celebrate four years with our sweet little girl.

Happy birthday, Wild Lady. We love you so much!


5 responses to “Four

  1. Jan Anderson says:

    Beautiful words, Momma. We can all learn a lot from your sweet, strong Tessa. Happy birthday, Tessa!

  2. Mimi says:

    Maggie. This is beautiful!
    I am also so thankful for Tessa. She has brought a demension to our family that makes us all so much better. You and John have given your little girl so much love. It is clear that she is a confident, happy child.
    I am excited to see what the future holds for Tessa. Watch out world, Tessa’s here!


  3. Lori Schmitz says:

    Happy birthday big girl! Wow! Four! It seems the time is flying!

  4. Becky Koltz says:


    I am grateful to you for sharing your life journey here. I have learned so much from you, and I have grown from what you, and Tessa, have taught me. Happy Birthday, dear Tessa!!

    Mrs. K

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