Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Peace, not perfection

I never tire of the holidays.

I have no max input of twinkly lights.

Buying presents does not exhaust me.  I could wrap for days and days.

I love the endless onslaught of Christmas cookies.

I have no fear of the rush to move from house to house, visiting with family and friends, enjoying coziness and cheer and gingerbread house making and ALL OF THE HOLIDAY THINGS.

(I have probably grown tired of the Trolls Holiday Special but that is beside the point.  Those creatures are annoying.)

I am sure that much of my love of this season stems from the fact that I have two love languages: gifts and quality time.  The American Christmas Season was made for people like me.  I mean seriously – all we do from Thanksgiving through New Years Day is what I love – buy things and love on each other through endless holiday gatherings.

Sometimes where I falter is in reminding myself that the American Christmas Season was not made for all of the people I love.

Eek.

For example, about a week ago, my parents took me and the rest of the ladies in the family to an afternoon performance of The Nutcracker.  I imagined a magical afternoon with my girls, their faces lit up with unbridled excitement at the costumes and the music and the dancing.  As the performance drew nearer though, I began to have some trepidation of how Tessa would respond to the theater environment.  In general she has struggled in concerts, performances, and other events where there is clapping and lots of sensory input.  In the name of including her, we forged ahead with the day, and I was hell-bent on making this a great experience.

Until it wasn’t.

Before the curtain even went up, it was apparent that she was going to sob her way through the performance (I suspect in fear of the moment that applause would break out).  It didn’t matter if I covered her ears or found some other way to block out the noise, she was not going to have it and my magical day with the girls suddenly felt heavy and sad.

I’ll be totally honest – when I ran out of the auditorium and into the bathroom with her, I cried in anger for about 15 seconds because this beautiful experience was so hard for her.  It felt really unfair.

And then, as I sat with her in the lobby and waited for John to take her home so that I could watch the show with Ellie, I thought through all of the hard things that people deal with in the holidays.  I gave myself an internal stern talking-to and reminded myself to calm the **** down.  Because seriously, this is a molehill compared to the hurt that people struggle through during what should be a sweet and festive time.

My struggle with perfection has come to head this season as I have seen my eldest start to navigate the very real irritation that I also feel when things do not go as planned.  She is as I am.  And to help her function in our world, I have to consciously choose peace in the imperfect, not in perfection.

It is not easy.  I have wanted desperately to rearrange ornaments, or people’s choices in meal times, or my child’s psychological brain function…. it’s not realistic.

Peace is not perfection.

Peace is not perfection.

There is still so much to be learned. ❤

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My Beach Body

My Beach Body has stretched to grow three humans.  It has a hefty amount of stretch marks and a tummy that looks kind of like a deflated balloon.  It’s smushy and cozy and not on my list of “immediate concerns.”

At not-quite six weeks post-partum, my Beach Body is ready for the bathing suit I just bought to accommodate a pooch.  It is ready to splash in the pool with my girls and to enjoy a wine spritzer while lounging in an Adirondack chair and reading Rachael Ray magazine.

Next summer, my Beach Body will likely still need that same suit and that is OK.

You see, my Beach Body, which looks nothing like the Beach Body of my early 20s, is healthy and fulfilled.  It enjoys a lean protein and vegetables for lunch and dinner, but also the chocolate that follows once the kids are in bed.  My Beach Body now is not longing to fit the size 4 wedding dress stashed in my daughters’ dress up bin.  It isn’t even reminiscing about all the size 6 pants that I donated when Tessa was born.  It thinks a little about the 8s and 10s that are in the back of the closet, but is comfortable in maternity shorts and size 12 for now.

Twice a week, sometimes more, my Beach Body takes a walk around the neighborhood, all by itself, and truthfully, rocks out to those boy bands from the early 2000s that I still can’t quite get enough of.  It doesn’t go quickly, or break into a jog, but it moves.  It shows my girls that they can take a moment to breathe, to be in solitude, and to step away from the world’s chaos for 30 minutes.

My Beach Body wants my precious girls to know that they can go to a birthday party and enjoy a piece of cake.  It walks those girls to the ice cream stand down the street and does not feel guilty about a chocolate-dipped cone with sprinkles.  It doesn’t need wraps (thanks no thanks, random Facebook acquaintance that I haven’t spoken to in 10 years) or shakes.  It doesn’t believe in cheat days, but in moderation.  It feels balanced.  Chubby and healthy and balanced.

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Dear Baby #1 and #3

Dear Baby #1 and #3,

I must be in a weepy mood this morning.

Perhaps.

Before Ellie and before Tessa, there were you two.  For a few precious weeks, we got to daydream about life with you, to think about who you might be and how fun it would be to have you to love and care for, to watch you grow.

God kept you before we met you and while we couldn’t understand it at the time, we do now.  If we had been sent you, how vastly different might our life be.

The pain of losing you both is eased only in having the grander plan revealed as life moves forward.  It’s really hard to say that I would rather have this baby than that one, but I understand the purpose in the suffering.  I can begin to recognize how each piece is starting to come together to make a far different picture than we imagined – not just because we have Ellie and Tessa, but because we don’t have you.

Little ones, you are loved.  I expect that you are making some others very happy up in Heaven, and that we’ll get to meet you some day.  Thanks for teaching us some lessons that we very much needed.

Hugs and Kisses,

Mom

:):

This is part of the 31 for 21 Blog Challenge – blogging every day for the the 31 days of Down Syndrome Awareness month.  To find out more about the challenge, and to see other blogs participating, click here.

This year’s theme has been inspired by the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network’s #deardoctor campaign.  To see more #deardoctor letters, visit their Facebook page here.

 

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Dear Blog Readers, Part 1

Dear Blog Readers,

Thanks for understanding that we love to be out and about loving life.  As such, tonight’s post is a short one.  More to come soon.  For now, I’m just happy you are here.

Hugs,

Maggie

A little cuteness to tide you over until tomorrow…




 

This is part of the 31 for 21 Blog Challenge – blogging every day for the the 31 days of Down Syndrome Awareness month.  To find out more about the challenge, and to see other blogs participating, click here.

This year’s theme has been inspired by the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network’s #deardoctor campaign.  To see more #deardoctor letters, visit their Facebook page here.

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Home again, home again.

I’m soaking in the last few minutes of solitude.  Through a series of events, it happened that I ended up checked in for my flight and at the gate about three hours early.  And it’s good.  Good people watching, good decompressing, good reflection.

It was such a great weekend.  I’m tired and ready to come home to my loves, but wow.  This trip was exactly what I needed.

Texas is big and flat and though I barely saw anything while I was here, it’s now officially on my list of places that I actually do want to visit.  I don’t think I met an unkind person while I was here.  I didn’t venture off the hotel property much, but enough to feel welcome and loved on by all the Texans I met.

I didn’t come to this retreat with any burning questions, but I have left with answers to questions I didn’t even know I had.

It’s amazing how quickly the awkward “I know you online but who are you?” faded into easy conversation with what felt like old friends.  Wine helped with that, but so did the feeling that these women, they are my people, my tribe.  There were laughs and wows! and ‘hey, I totally get you’ moments… Kleenex boxes at the tables wiped away good, cleansing tears and we just enjoyed each other for 48 hours.  

I’m excited to come home.  I’m tired, but refreshed.  I’m reflective, but forward-thinking.  I’m ready to put my nose to the ground and do the work.

So, so good.


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Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Do you know what is the worst experience ever post-baby? I bet you do!

Bathing suit shopping.

Ugh.

You know, I bounced back fairly well after Ellie was born, but pregnancy with Tessa really did a number on me… not to mention the hours spent hunched over a Boppy pillow feeding her in the sidelying position.

Wide hips, huge feet, stretch marks, worse eyesight, terrible posture, hunched shoulders… It’s not even the weight so much as the complete alteration of my entire shape.

OK, I’m done.

I know, I know, 9 months on, at least 9 months off, you grew a human, stretch marks remind us of the miracle of life that grew in our belly, blah blah blah, yadda yadda. I’m not there yet.

But last weekend, the pool looked so inviting and fun. And I want to be the one having fun rather than watching the fun. So bathing suit shopping happened. And now I have to suck it up… and suck it in… and remind myself that she was worth it. They were worth it.

(and so were the control-top bathing suit bottoms that cost double the price of the regular kind. Just sayin’.)

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