Ilisa Ailts Photography
2226 County Road T
Deer Park, WI 54007

Call: 715-220-7412
Email: ilisa@ilisaailts.com

July 23, 2013

Happy 3rd Birthday, Calvin!

After 3 years it is safe to say we are more than accustomed to having Calvin around.  Or, should I say, having a person with Down syndrome around?

I may not blog as much as I’d honestly like, but it does not mean I do not think about as much as I used to share.  During times like these I cannot help but think about the journey I have been on since becoming pregnant with Calvin.  Actually, since finding out I was pregnant with Evan.  Children change us.  They are not the only ones who have the opportunity to grow and mature.

How selfish and self-centered was I?  The answer can simply be calculated in how hard of an adjustment each child brought.  And, when I found out Calvin had a heart condition during my 28 week ultrasound, I was a blubbering mess.  A week later I find out he probably has Down syndrome and my life ended.   Seriously, I thought it was ruined.  Wow, how embarrassing.  Luckily for me, God knows best.  But, I didn’t really know that the way I do now.  I think there is a reason I found God, and his name is Calvin.

In fact, I found many great things since that May day back in 2010.  I found friends, faith, patience, and wisdom.  I found strength I never knew I needed, let alone had.  I found confidence (thanks to my faith and trust/security).  I found support, comfort, knowledge, kindness.  I found “Signing Times”, small shoes, and a new appreciation for most things, including the high-chair, bathtubs, Curious George, ENTs, paleo websites, and food!  The list could go on and on.  The fact is, my life did end.

And my new life began.  I would never want to go back to the life I had.  I did not always feel this way.  Especially 3 years ago when I was not excited when I went in to labor and instead chanted over and over “I’m not ready for this”  as I packed up the car before heading to the hospital.  I wasn’t ready for it, but with the grace of God, it has been possible.  His grace has come in the form of all the support for and love I have for Calvin.  And, it has come in my heart through pure acceptance:

“Shorter arms and legs?”  The better to hug you with!  And, I can’t reach as much to get in to trouble!

“Low muscle tone? Motor delays?”  Then my mom can keep up with me since I’m not moving too quickly! (Something she’s a bit afraid of for the future!)

“Thin hair?”  You mean my soft hair that grows very quickly?!

“Lower IQ?”  I know more than you think!  And, you know what they say about EQ?  That is more valuable and I surpass the average level in this department!

“Physical needs such as heart defects, sight and hearing deficits, sick often?”  Maybe, but with a healthy environment and various supports, you may not know the difference.  Again, you can grow from my weaknesses!  Look at my family’s healthy eating habits since I came along!

——-

Calvin is signing nearly 4 dozen words.  Maybe even more, I have last track.  He pointed at Joe’s agate collection today and signed ‘rock’!   And he looks to me for the sign to more things than I can label.  I am working to keep up and stay ahead.  He is even starting to label people like ‘mom’, ‘dad’, ‘grandpa’, and ‘grandma’.

Next, Calvin LOVES books and videos and playing on the iPad.  He likes music, dancing, and affection.  He pretends to be a bear, pretends to go to sleep, and plays with all sorts of toys.  He loves racing around with trucks!  Nothing short of average in the play department.  Calvin loves food, especially his paleo waffles he calls “hot” since I always warn they are hot.  He says hot, uh uh (for no), oh oh, dog, and moos for a cow, snorts for a pig, and he can sure let out a giggle.

I am honored to have Calvin in my life.  To be his mom is truly a gift.  I am grateful for all the lessons, no matter how painful and challenging they have been.  When I look at the photos of his face full of cake I cannot help but remember the painful time I put in to getting this boy to eat for the first 6-8 months of his life.  It was very hard to keep my emotions and thoughts on the future.  Again, a lesson I learned is to cherish the present because the future is unknown and cannot be controlled.

Currently I am looking at school for him next year and a lot of learning in between.  He will stay home with me until he turns 4 unless something comes up and I think he is ready.  I want him to stay healthy so he can learn and I just think school equals guaranteed viruses.  And, I am looking forward to Evan and Nolan starting school because I hope to have more one-to-one time with him.  I have goals for him!

Happy Birthday, Calvin!  Because of you I have learned to both set new goals and also not fall hard when goals cannot or are not met.  That is not what life is about.

 

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Ilisa Ailts Photography specializes in portrait and event photography in western Wisconsin.