Rainbows

rainbow

We were in the car driving home from one of our many activities. The children were sitting contentedly in the backseat staring out the windows.

“Mom, we need to pray!” my oldest, Abi, shouted from her seat. I glanced in the review mirror at her.

“Okay,” I said cautiously, “what are we praying for?”

“We need to pray that those bad clouds over there are chased away by the good clouds over there,” she responded gesturing out the window. I looked at where she was pointing and realized that there were storm clouds moving in. I half listened, nodding in agreement, as she sent up a prayer for ‘no storms and for only good weather’.

We made it home just before the rain hit. Abi and I stood in the garage looking up at the sky. It was full of dark grey fast moving clouds. Every few minutes lightening would flash and thunder would growl low and angry.

“Mom, the bad clouds won,” she said with a sad sigh. I smiled at her.

“I know Peanut, but it’s okay. Maybe God knew we needed the rain today”. She chewed on her lip and asked,

“Mommy, why does it storm?”

“Oh,” I said thoughtfully, “well, you know the plants need a drink, and the clouds need emptying, and….” I was trying to think of something brilliant to explain storms when she turned to face me. She stared up at me, right into my eyes.

“No. Mommy, why does it storm?”  I felt my stomach due a huge flip flop and I suddenly knew that this was an important moment and that what came out of my mouth next was going to be significant. I licked my lips and drew in a deep breath.

“Because, if it never stormed, we would never have a chance to see rainbows,” I saw her little body relax and she smiled at me.

“Alright,” she said cheerfully and ran into the house. I stood there absolutely still, my heart pounding in my ears. That conversation was no longer just a little chat about the weather. It was a revelation to me from God. It was an answer to a big question that I had posed to Him several weeks before.

You see back in Genesis when the entire world was so wicked and horrible, God asked a man named Noah to build and ark, gather up his family and the animals and climb aboard for a little cruise. Once they were safe inside God caused it to rain for 40 days and 40 nights flooding the entire earth. When that was done He placed a rainbow in the sky saying,   I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Gen. 9:13

The rainbow was a sign of Gods covenant that he would never flood the earth again, it became a symbol of God’s promise. Now, the amazing thing about God is that He will never break a promise.  Ever. Psalm 89:34 says, I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered. If the Lord says it, it will be.  If that isn’t convincing enough, what about 2nd Corinthians 1:20, for all the promises of God in him are yes, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.  He cannot and will not break a promise, not just the one that He made with Noah, but all the promises in the bible.

Now, there are a lot of promises in the bible. ALOT.  But what isn’t promised to us is that there won’t be storms or trials in our lives.  Just like Noah and is family, we are going to encounter storms.  We are going to face trials.  Sometimes you will be able see the clouds in the distance and prepare for what’s coming and some will take you by surprise.  Some may be only a sprinkle but some will bring hurricane force winds and shake you down to your very foundation.  They are going to come, the bible warns us in 1st Peter 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. And then again in John 16:33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.

 We will have storms; we will have trials, but with those storms comes an opportunity to see rainbows! Those true and never failing promises to you from your Lord and Savior.  What are some of those promises?

He will be your shelter and protection

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!    Psalm 91:1-2

He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.   Psalm 91:4

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.   Psalm 46:2

He will fight for you

When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.   Isaiah 59:19

 The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.   Exodus 14:14

No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent. For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone.   Psalm 91:10-13

 He never leave you or forsake you…

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.   Isaiah 43:2

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged    Deuteronomy 31:8

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.   Joshua 1:9

 He will give you strength and rest

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  Matthew 11:28-29

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:29-31

But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christs power may rest on me. 2nd Corinthians 12:9

He will give you victory…

Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With a long life I will satisfy him And let him see My salvation.   Psalm 91:14-16

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8:37-39

 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1st Corinthians 15:57

 I know that some of you might be thinking, ‘Sure, Sherry, these things are all great and stuff, but it’s a lot harder quoting scriptures and trusting God when you’re actually in the middle of a storm.’   I get it, I really really do.  Remember back to the moment with Abi in the garage. I said that I knew the answer I had given her had been an answer to a question that I had asked?  It was a question that I had been asking for several months. I had asked God why?  Why did were we walking through, what I felt, was one of the biggest storms in my life.

In June, I had a miscarriage.  We wanted that baby; we were elated to be pregnant again and had felt it was an answer to prayer. A prayer that I had been praying for almost three years. So you can imagine the heartbreak and confusion that came after the emergency room doctor told me that I was no longer pregnant. It wasn’t just a little sprinkle, it was a hurricane. Fear, confusion, anger and grief; all of those swirled around throughout this storm.  It was wind so strong and devastating that I risked being torn down to the very bare bones of what I was made of. The thunder and lightning of it got so bad that I cried out in desperation, why dear Lord, why, did this have to happen! 

And then it was calmer.  It still rained and sometimes the wind would pick back up, but I held firm that solid rock foundation of the Lord and I waited.  Praying for an answer. Finally it came, in the form of a question from a little girl, who was just as unhappy about a real storm as her mama was about her spiritual one.  Because if it never stormed, we would never have a chance to see rainbows.

I don’t know what is going on in your life right now. Maybe it’s all sunshiny and clear, or maybe you’ve got a sprinkle, or some gale force winds. Whatever it may be the promises of God will always remain and be true and infallible. Hold on to them and remember to cling tight to The Lord, because he will get you through, the skies will part and you will see rainbows.

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.   John 14:27

What It Should Have Said 

I was cleaning out my closet today; sorting through old clothes, photographs, boxes of odds-n-ends. The kids were happily running around the house playing with each other and being about as loud as a herd of elephants wearing microphones. They came running into the closet, scampered around the mess for a moment or two and then turned to run out. Gabe bumped into the chair that I was perched upon on his way by I had to let go of the box I was holding to steady myself. I reached down to pick up the papers that had been scattered and stopped.  
I recognized it instantly. It was creased and wrinkled. There was a spaghetti sauce stain on the corner of it and ink smears where my tears had fallen onto the paper. I opened it up, smoothed it out and took a deep breath. I knew what it said, I had read it enough times that I practically had it memorized. It was given to me tucked inside a manila folder and placed in a binder alongside pamphlets and informational flyers. It was a life changing paper, one that altered the course of my family’s lives.  


It said, 47, XY, +21, abnormal karyotype. Analysis shows three copies of chromosome 21 (Trisomy 21) in each metaphase cell examined consistent with the clinical diagnosis of Down syndrome. 
It said, common manifestations include mental retardation, cardiac abnormalities, small stature, gastrointestinal complications, hearing and/or visual disorders and hypotonia. Social development is typically more advanced than intellectual development.
It said, there is a greater than 30% risk for fetal loss in the second half of pregnancy.
It said that there is an increased risk for chromosomal abnormalities in subsequent conceptions.
It said to me that my child, my son, was abnormal on a cellular level. That he would face physical and intellectual challenges. That there was a chance that I would not get to meet him. And it said that it could happen again. 

 It said to me that life as I knew it was over, the child I had dreamed of was gone.  
It said things that made me not just cry, but sob uncontrollably. Things that made me go through the next several weeks worrying about the safety and well being of the baby growing within. Things that painted a drab and dreary future of abnormalities and complications. Oh how wrong was that paper.  
What it should have said was; we have completed your testing. You are having a baby boy. His cells are more unique than most of the ones we see. Inside of each and every one of those microscopic discs is an extra twenty first chromosome. While the addition of this extra chromosome may make it more difficult for him to do all the things that children without Down syndrome do, it does not mean that he can’t. It does mean that he will find his own way to do them and he may do them at different times than children lacking this extra chromosome.  


What it should have said was; While this little extra piece may seem daunting and overwhelming, included within it are some amazing things! There is a laugh that is contagious, it can fill a room and make even the most somber smile and chuckle. There is a determination that will sometimes test the limits of even the most steadfast parents. But that determination will be used to accomplish many things! There is an infectious joy that passes from this one little person to all those around them. There are hugs and cuddles and kisses and snuggles that are absolutely unbeatable.
What is should have said was: There are lessons tucked away inside that additional twenty first chromosome. These lessons are best taught by the little one who carry them. Lessons on acceptance, unconditional love, empathy, compassion and selflessness. Lessons that makes us view the world around us in a completely different light. Lessons that makes us stronger as parents. Lessons that remind us not to rush and to take time to enjoy the little things in life. Lessons that accumulate to make those around this little being, just a little bit better.
What is should have said was: Inside of this chromosome there is an extra dose of resilience and drive, humor and personality, understanding and patience. There is strength, forgiveness, steadfastness and even temper! There is sweetness, fierceness, willfulness, and stubbornness. There is rhythm and dancing, silly songs and imagination. There is intelligence and brilliance, ability and accomplishments.
What it should have said was: This chromosome’s effects are not just isolated to the one whose cells contain it. It will impact and touch all those who encounter this child. Hearts will be softened, perceptions altered and lives changed by this sweet boy. It will change you. You will learn more about yourself than you knew before. You will be an advocate, a voice. You will find a strength that you didn’t know existed, a boldness that may even surprise you.  
What it should have said was: With this information may come a feeling of fear, worry, anger, disappointment, uncertainty or even guilt. Those feelings are normal, it can be challenging to imagine what life will be like caring for a little one with so much extra inside of them. Take some time and be patient with yourself. Remember that the baby you are carrying is still the same baby; you are just one of the lucky ones whose child contains a little extra amazing.


What it should have said was: Congratulations, it’s a boy!

 

It’s been a while

Actually, it’s been almost a year….361 days since the last blog post. Let me start by saying, I’m sorry….

 
Writing has always been a big part of who I am. Writing is therapeutic for me. Writing is my release, I can put pen to paper (or fingers to keys), and pour out my heart. On my darkest days writing brings me light. My writing often reflects my emotion because I write from my heart. My feelings dipped in ink and stamped on paper. I am transparent, honest and raw. 

But I’m also a hesitant sharer.  I wrote in middle school, scribbling furiously in a secret journal, sharing my thoughts only with myself.  I wrote in high school, sharing some of my most special pieces with just my favorite English Teacher. I wrote when I was I college and newly married, letters to myself, of the future I imagined for myself and my new husband.  I wrote when I became a mom, chronicaling the everyday events of my daughter. Light hearted and happy, these were the stories of my life, a glimpse into the shenanigans of my walk in mommy hood.  

Then I began to write about my son; the guilt that I felt with my first reaction to his diagnosis. I wrote about my feelings about Down syndrome. What it has given and what it has taken away. I need it, my heart needed it. And then after almost a year, I decided to share. I shared everything, I put it all out there. And I was relived. I felt like I was using my testimony to help other families who were just beginning there walk down the blue and yellow road of Down syndrome. I shared my blog with some of my fellow moms, my family and friends. And then something happened. 

Someone noticed my blog, they noticed a post. A post about an experience that I had with a cashier, so they shared it. And they shared it, and shared it, and shared it. Before long the post had been shared so much that it was considered “viral”. Then it turned into something more than my heart on paper, it was a “pro-life movement”, it was a “call for attention”, it was “monopolizing my child” and it “was all a lie”. I looked beyond many of the comments, including the private ones that came with hateful comments directed at my son.  I took comfort in the many encouraging posts from people who commented with love, encouragement and stories of their own. 

 
I continued to write and share here and on my blog Facebook page, but less often. I was hesitant, the comments had gotten into my heart, I was being more guarded with my sharing.  The negative comments became fewer and things felt like they were back to normal, until I found out that Gabes photo had been taken, edited to include the words “I got cancer” and was being used on multiple Facebook pages for likes and shares. I worked hard to get them removed and despite several pages being closed, many more remained active, using Gabe for like farming. 

So I stopped. I stopped blogging, I kept writing, but not sharing. I decided that I would close Hand Me Downs, and go back to sharing with those closest to me only. And then two things happened, last week I got an email with a photo in it.  A sweet baby girl, snuggled up in her mamas arms, her mama wrote, 

“I sorry my English not good, from Italy.  Your writing give me hope when daughter, Elena, was born Down syndrome.   I see your son smile and think it’s all okay.  She is good health and we love her.  Thank you for your sharing. Ilaria”

Then tonight the post Sometimes I Forget resurfaced on Scary Mommy. A good friend tagged me in it and I was initially terrified.  Then I remembered Ilaria and Elana and I just don’t care anymore. In the words of Taylor Swift, “haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate”.   And “I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, I shake it off, I shake it off!”  

Feel free to comment below if y’all don’t like it, but I’m all done letting others bad behavior dictate my choices!

After Down Syndrome

  

Everyone has at least one day in their lives that they could call “life changing”. When applied to my life there are a few moments that come to mind; high school graduation, my engagement and subsequent wedding, the night we found out we were expecting our first child, her birth, the day I found out we were expecting again.  I can tell you the month date and year that all of those things occurred, they’re important moments, monumental moments, moments that changed the course of my and then my husband’s life.  One thing that they all have in common is the joy that came with these special moments and the tears shed by me or others that were looking on with love and pride.

But there is another moment, one that will be with me until the end of my days.  It’s a moment that I’m not proud of, a moment full of anger and hate and tears.  Three years ago today, I was blissfully unaware that I was about to add another “life changing” moment to my list.  I had no idea that less than 24 hours from now, I would be given news that would expose my truest of feelings, and leave me shaken, ashamed and confused.

 When I think about it, I don’t really remember much about March 20th, 2012; it wasn’t anymore special to me than any other day.  I couldn’t tell you what I had for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I couldn’t tell you what I wore, if I was at work or home, if I did anything special with my spouse or daughter.  I’m sure I was happy, or as happy as a pregnant lady chasing a toddler could be.  We had some scary news earlier in the pregnancy, that had seemed to resolve itself, and although I knew the results for our amniocentesis would be in soon, I wasn’t too concerned.

  

And then the next day came.  I remember going to work and having a fairly pleasant day in Triage, I chatted with friends, very few knew that we had an amnio, so it wasn’t on the forefront of my mind.  As I was leaving I checked my voicemail, there was a message from our perinatologist to call him back; our results were in.  So I did just that.  I called him back, and then March 21stwas added to my list of life changing days.  It wasn’t a happy occasion; the tears that were shed were not ones of pride, joy, or love. 

I can sometimes still feel fear and confusion that I felt after hearing the Doctor utter two little words “Down syndrome”.  I can still feel the tears that rushed down, soaking my steering wheel and t-shirt.  I can still picture the confused look on the old man’s face, who tapped on my window to check on me.  I can still hear the three words I shouted in anger at God as I pulled out of the parking lot “I Hate You”.  And I can still hear the thoughts echoing in my head about my unborn son, “I Don’t Want You”. 

As I said, it wasn’t a moment that I remember proudly.  My initial reactions left me feeling guilty and angry at myself.   I went home that night, kissed my sleeping daughter and changed into my pajamas.  My in-laws came over to discuss our results.  I ate cold Ramen noodles.  I had told my mother in law, “I like them cold”, when she urged me to eat them, I didn’t want to tell her that I had no desire to eat anything.  I cried some more and then went to sleep. And then it wasn’t the 21st anymore.

  

Over the following weeks and months I learned as much as I could about life with a child with Down syndrome.   I prayed.  A lot.  I forgave myself.  My love for Gabe grew bigger and bigger, just like my belly, until it felt like my tummy and heart couldn’t expand any further.  Then Gabe came and slipped seamlessly into our lives; Mommy, Daddy, Daughter and Son; our perfect family.   I like to think of the days before Gabe as the days “Before Down Syndrome”.

Those were the days before words like chromosomes, trisomy, Down syndrome, low tone, therapy, advocacy or acceptance were part of my every day vocabulary.  The days before I understood what it meant to use people first language. They were the days before I felt like I understood the meaning of true and unconditional love. The days before I had friends, best friends, that spanned the globe, before I had the confidence to stand up for my children’s needs and before I knew what it meant to take a time line, throw it out the window and be okay with it.  Those were the days before I fell in love with a blue eyed boy, before I knew how wonderful, amazing, challenging and perfect it was to have a child with Down syndrome. 

I wouldn’t give them up for anything, and even though sometimes I miss the simplicity of them, I wouldn’t give up a single day that has came After Down Syndrome either.

   


Inadequate

Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the definition of inadequate as this: “lacking in quality or quantity required; insufficient for its purpose”. I’m certain that if I were in a room full of parents and said “Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt inadequate as a parent”, there wouldn’t be a single person not raising their hand. If there were anyone in the room not raising their hand it could be due only to the fact that someone superglued them to the chair or they’re lying. I remember from the moment that expensive digital test blared the unmistakable word “pregnant” on its little grey screen, I began to question my ability to be a parent. I technically wasn’t even one yet, however there I was unsure of myself and my capabilities. But why? Why are we so unsure of ourselves as parents?

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Is it because there are sooo many choices? Cloth or disposable diapers. Homemade or jarred food. Organic or nonorganic. Breast or bottle. Strollers or slings. Co-sleep or crib. Vaccine or no vaccine. There are even choices for our choices! Pampers, Loves, Huggies…there are entire walls dedicated to varying brands of disposable diapers.

Or is it because we are bombarded by advertisers who portray parents who don’t use their products as a little less than those who do? ‘Choosey moms choose Jiff’; and what about those who like the one with the flying boy on it? Or ‘by the second one, all parents are experts’ and those experts obviously prefer one specific brand of diaper.

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Could it be our innate competitive nature to rear the best children that the world has ever seen; causes us to constantly compare ourselves to other parents, leaving questions and doubts crowding our minds. Am I doing the right thing, should I have fed him that, should I have let her wear that, will they really turn out okay if I don’t let them sleep with me, or if they do sleep with my will they be scarred for life?

Perhaps it’s all three. Or none of the above, maybe something I haven’t listed. The reason doesn’t so much matter as the fact that we do. I’ve heard countless friends and acquaintances express their uncertainty and their concern about the choices that they have made or are making for their children. Questioning their judgment. Doubting their ability based on the going ons around them. I do it myself.

I see parents when I drop off my children who are spectacularly dressed and I’m lucky to show up with pants and a shirt that I didn’t sleep in or wear to work the night before. I find myself tugging my tshirt down over my yoga pants (note I never do yoga) and glancing at my kids; inadequate. I find posts from parents who are rocking incredible homemade therapy sessions and the only thing that could pass for therapy for us that day was him trying to dig out two lost Cheerios under the couch. (I mean that’s fine motor right?); inadequate.
I see moms bent down on one knee speaking soft reasoning words to their tyrant of a toddler and I am immediately reminded of the wall shuddering bellow of “Get.Your.Daggum.Shoes.On.Your.Feet.NOW!” that shot out of my mouth not even a half an hour earlier; inadequate.

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What it boils down to is this; the more I compare myself to those around me, the more inadequate I feel. I gotta stop, we’ve gotta stop. The true judge of our ability is our children. The choices that we make for our families are OUR choices. Make them and stand by them with confidence. Instead of looking around at the other parents doing all the other things that you THINK you should be doing, look at your children. It’s easy to see that what you are doing is enough, it is sufficient, it is adequate, when you use your children as the scale by which to measure.

I know that it’s difficult not to compare, or even judge other parents, but it’s important to remember that that’s what they are; other parents. They’re making the choices for their families. Those choices may not be right for your kids, and you shouldn’t feel inadequate because of that. It’s possible that the parent you’re envying isn’t as put together as you think they are! As parents we all have a similar goal in mind; the health, happiness and well being of our families, we can’t do that if we’re consumed with self doubt.

I’m not going to let the fact that my daughter has eaten dog treats, peed in a potted plant, fed her brother his own boogers or painted him blue with stamps, make me feel like less of a parent. My daughter is incredible; she has a vocabulary that won’t quit, her creativity is inspiring and her sense of humor admirable. My son rocks; he faces whatever comes at him with “a kiss my diapered butt” grin, spreads joy to whomever he meets and challenges this family to be more than just observers of life. Hearing their laughter and seeing their smiles throughout the day confirm to me that I’m doing alright.

My children shall be my scale, not the parents around me! I’m going to move forward as a mama who is confident in her ability, attempt not to allow myself to compare my choices to others and I’m gonna wear my yoga pants proudly. I hope you’ll do the same (yoga pants not a requirement).

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Mommy Lesson 700: Nothing to Lose Your Head Over

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I want to first start off by issuing an apology. This apology is to my daughter. Mommy is very, VERY sorry that you were unfortunate enough to bear witness to the events that unfolded this evening. I am certain that the shocking and unsettling incident that occurred will leave you slightly jaded. You may never look at mommy the same, or your Dollie for that matter. I hope that you can forgive me and maybe even forget my unfortunate mistake.

After enjoying a nice family dinner and playing at the play place in our local mall we arrived home just in time for pajamas and bedtime. While picking out her jammies Abi asked if we could change her special Christmas dolly out of her church clothes and into her pajamas too. I said sure and she proceeded to pick out a pair of pajamas for herself and her doll. She then sat down in the floor to change her dolly’s clothes. Peanut expertly removed the shoes and the jacket but struggled with the dress.

She looked to Super Mom for some help and I willingly obliged. I sat cross legged on the floor, the doll standing straight up with her arms up over her head. I nimbly pulled the dress up and over the top, in much the same fashion you would your own child. Things were going great until the dress became stuck around the dolls head. Now, typically when clothing becomes entangled around your child’s head you just tug a little harder. If that doesn’t work, you typically feel for a button or snap that you may have forgotten. If not button or snap is present you just pull really, really hard and eventually the child will be wrenched free of the offending outfit. This doesn’t work for dollies.

Want to know why? Because THEIR HEADS COME OFF! I tugged and pulled and felt the clothes suddenly give and come free of my daughters VERY special Dolly. I was grinning ear to ear until I heard my daughters surprised and terrified gasp. I followed her open mouthed stare to the the neck of the dolly. Smile gone, proud moment over, childhood ruined.

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Abi open and closed her mouth rapidly, rather fish like, gasping for air, unable to say anything. I frantically pulled the decapitated dolly head from the Chinese trap of a dress, and worked desperately to stick it back on. “Ha, oh dear, you know Peanut, um sometimes these things happen. But it’s REALLY easy to fix”. She sat and watched stunned as I attempted to cram dolls head onto dolls body. “She. Doesn’t. Have. A. Head.” I frowned, I mean the darn thing came off so easily, it should back on just as easily, right?

I crammed and twisted for what felt like hours, but I’m sure it was only seconds and finally with a satisfactory click the head snapped back on. I held her up triumphantly and realized that she was looking at me from her backside. “Oh!” I yelped, and quickly spun her head around to the front. I peeked at Abi and found her still sitting there, mouth stuck open. “Hey! Look, there, all better. Mommy fixed her! Yay mommy!” Abi narrowed her eyes at me and snatched her precious Dollie from the dangerous grasp of the beheadding mommy “You. Pulled. Her. Head. Off.”

My attempts at an apology fell upon deaf ears as she set about checking her doll out to insure that I hadn’t detached any other parts. She verified that both arms and legs were still attached before sending me a seething glance and placing her dolly safely in its sleeping bag. She smoothed her hair out and gave her a kiss and placed her gently beside her bed on the floor. Without a word, she looked at me with disappointment, and silently left the room shaking her head. She turned right at the door, sighed and said, “I don’t think that you should play with dolly again”.

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Are You Ready?

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I’m a baby blogger. I don’t mean that I neccessarily blog about babies, I just mean that I’m fairly new to the world of blogs, blogging and everything that comes with it. So I am going to blame my lack of posts on my newness. It has nothing to do with the holiday craziness, working, nursing a flu ridden husband back to health, trying and failing to prevent my children from catching the flu and pink eye, nursing them back to health and organizing, reorganizing and giving up at organizing the christmas gifts that my children were blessed with throughout the entire month of December.

However, I CANNOT let another moment go by without sharing this challenge for change that has been thrown down by an incredible woman. Katie at Changing the Face of Beauty has worked tirelessly since 2012 to change the perceptions of society. It started as a website highlighting children of all abilities through photography. The mission was simple; encouraged mainstream media and companies across the globe to include individuals of all ability in their advertisements and promotions. Katie’s intiiative has certainly changed perceptions and is continuing to gain momentum. And why shouldnt it? Why shouldn’t children and adults with disabilities have an opportunity to promote the brands that they know and love?

Recently Katie issued a challenge; #15in2015. The goal is to convince at LEAST 15 retailers to feature individuals representing a variety of abilities in their advertisements during 2015. Using the #IMREADY individuals across the globe have began calling out their favorite retailers, businesses, brands, and the like, challenging them to step up and join in! To be one of the first (of many I’m sure) to come along side this community and show their support for inclusion.

Changing the Face of Beauty has already made it super simple to join in and challenge whatever retailer you love the most. Take your choice of social media outlet and tag the business (or bussinesses) of your choosing. Add in a few hashtags including #IMREADY, #15in2015, #changingthefaceofbeauty and garnish with a photo! There you go, thats it. It wont take too long, and the resulting change will be monumental.

It can be easy to miss a few little voices, but the public cannot ignore the crowd chant “I AM READY!”. So go on, get to it! And remember “The power of one, if fearless and focused, is formidable, but the power of MANY working together is better” Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
 

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Gabe has called out #thechildrensplace, #oldnavy, #gymboree, #jellybeans, #thekidscourt, #melissa&doug, #walmart, #mobywrap, #medela, #brightstarts, #target, #carters, #mattel, #toysrus, and #playskool

Do you think they’re ready to represent?

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