Those of you who have been following my blog or know me personally have probably heard me talk of Lisa, our Family Support Network liason. The Family Support Network of Central Carolina is an organization that follows babies after birth who were born prematurely and/or have special needs. In essence, this organization (along with the CDSA and others) helps so-called "challenged" babies stay on track developmentally by regularly evaluating children's needs and recommending therapies and tools for growth.
On the day of Jack's birth, rather than have "family time," strangers were in and out of our room for three days straight ... doctors, geneticists, social workers, case managers, etc. Among these strangers was one that would become a mentor on the subject of life, a confidant, a long-lost sister, a best friend ... a guardian angel. The days following Jack's birth are still a little foggy, given the medications I'd had and sleep deprivation, but Lisa always stood out in my mind. Her bright light blue eyes looked right into mine while she told me that everything would be okay and that she was here for me and my family. I immediately felt a bond with her and knew that she was telling the truth.
Nearly every other week since Jack's birth, Lisa has visited us in our home to not only check on Jack's development, but also to check on us as a family and as her friends. Lisa recommended therapies when needed, taught us ways to stimulate Jack during play that we wouldn't have ever thought of, and really helped me on days I just needed to talk. She trusted us and opened her arms up to our family, just as we opened our hearts and our home to her.
The reason I'm telling you all this is because today was Lisa's (can I actually say it without crying?!?!) ... it was her LAST VISIT. (She typically follows children for the first 6 months of life, but we had to do some rearranging with my schedule, her schedule, the holidays, etc. which stalled our last visit for a month or so ... oh darn.)
So, tonight I'd like to dedicate this post to Lisa ...
... who believes in children in whom many others don't believe
... who encourages children to reach their fullest potential no matter how long it takes
... who celebrates even these children's smallest accomplishments, as if they were her own flesh and blood
... who dedicates her life and her career to helping others who need help the most, when others turn a cheek
... who recognizes a child's true potential and doesn't ever let him give up
... who cries and means it
... who cares for special babies not as her job, but as her life's mission
... who is our Guardian Angel and whom we'll never, ever forget.
Although the words "thank you" don't begin to describe our appreciation for everything you've done for us, Lisa, I can't help but say, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" I couldn't have picked a better person to hold our hands during this challenging but exciting and smile-filled ride we're on. I know that it's now time to let go of your hand, but bear with me ... I'm having trouble. So, I'll go by not saying "goodbye," but instead "See you later!"
(How about lunch next week?!?! :)
For Lisa ...
Beautitudes for Friends of People with Special Needs
Blessed are you who take the time
to listen to difficult speech
for you help me to know that
if I persevere,
I can be understood.
Blessed are you who never bid me
to "hurry up"
or take my tasks from me
and do them for me,
for I often need time, rather than help.
Blessed are you who stand beside me
as I enter new and untried ventures,
for my failures will be outweighed
by the times I surprise
myself and you.
Blessed are you who ask
for my help
for my greatest need is to be needed.
Blessed are you, who with a smile,
encourage me to try once more.
Blessed are you who
never remind me
that today I asked
the same question twice.
Blessed are you who respect me
and love me just as I am.
... Love, Jack