Everyday, no matter how difficult a day I might be having at work or how tired I feel, I try to count my blessings. And, I am finding that as Jack grows older and older, I too am growing ... I am growing more thankful each and everyday for the blessings I have in my life.
I am blessed to have a wonderful husband who doesn't have an enemy in the world and is everyone's friend. Those of you who have the privilege and honor of being in his life know exactly what I mean. I have truly never met anyone as genuinely kind or compassionate about others as Robert, and I am so lucky to be able to call myself his wife and best friend. Robert loves fatherhood more than anything else in the world, and I absolutely cannot wait to see Jack grow up with such an amazing father.
I am very, very blessed to have an extraordinary little boy who came into our lives on May 28th, revealing his little "secret" to the world. His extra little chromosome would intrigue yet frighten me at first, but it is now one of the things about him that excites me and amazes me the most. Jack is not only a wonderful baby, but he has also already become an incredible person. As Jack laughs and smiles, it's like I see through his beautiful, shining eyes a myriad of things that I never fully knew or understood before his birth ... justice, peace, true love, acceptance, perseverance, truth, honor, loyalty, strength, pure happiness.
I am so very blessed for my incredible family. Every family has its ups and downs, and my family has definitely seen its share of trials and tribulations in the past. But rather than pull us apart, it seems that these bumps in the road of life consistently just bring us closer and closer together. I have never felt closer to my family as I have since Jack's birth ... it's amazing what one little person can do! I feel so fortunate to have a mother, sisters, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, and cousins who I can talk to about anything at all. Not many families can say the same for themselves, and I remind myself of just how lucky I am be surrounded by such support and love.
I am blessed to have the care and support of so many friends, coworkers and our church family. Jack had over 75 people walk for him in this year's Buddy Walk (one of the biggest crowds there, I must say) and that did not even include many family and friends who wanted to be there but couldn't. I must also mention that over 55 individuals supported our local Down Syndrome Network by donating "High Fives" in Jack's honor. He was in the top two for the most "high fives" in the Greensboro area ... no one will ever know how proud and full of joy this makes me!
It's amazing how many people have "come out of the wordwork" from my past since my Jack's birth to rekindle old friendships and share their own personal stories with me. I have reconnected with a few old high school friends in this way. Just as amazing is the web of new friends I have made who are also parents to special needs children like Jack. Their friendship, support and encouragement have meant more to me than I could ever express, and I know that we will be a part of each others' lives forever.
Lastly, I am blessed for the health and happiness of myself and my loved ones. I am in such a different place in my life now than ever before, and while I thank my little Jack for everything he's given me, I mostly thank him for the person he has made me become. I am finally the person I have always strived to be ... stronger, more assertive but more patient, more persistent but more caring, more resilient, and more loving ... and it's all because of one little person who's not even 6 months old yet. Incredible, just incredible.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, I hope you each take time to think about the blessings in your own life over the next week. It's a lot easier than you think. I challenge you to share what you are thankful for with your family and friends. In this tangled world we live in, people like to groan and complain about things way more often than appreciate them and share our love, so take some time to change this for a better world, for a better peace of mind ... and for Jack.