Howdy, y’all! One of my favorite traditions at [the best university of all time] Texas A&M (of which I am a former student) is saying “howdy” to those you pass on campus. It’s so friendly and warm and has become my daily greeting (just ask Mitch, who has adopted it for himself). It’s been awhile since we chatted and a lot has happened with us and the world since we last talked. Between howdies and hurricanes, it seems the world has shifted somehow. Did y’all now that this is the first time in history that Category 4 hurricanes have made landfall back-to-back? When I look back at the past year, it’s easy to feel like our life has been that of a Category 4 hurricane.
Having a child with a disability opens your eyes to your own heart and the hearts of those around you. I think that’s true in all times of despair and quite frankly, desperation. Our country had a front-row seat to this in the wake of the devastation after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. My faith in humanity was completely restored as I witnessed Houstonians serving each other as hand-in-hand rescues were made, families were reunited, and refugees were served in shelters city-wide. It makes me realize that when push comes to shove, we (the collective “we”) are ready and willing to serve our neighbors in their times of need. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I experienced this feeling first hand in the days and months following our prenatal news.
I’m not sure why sometimes it takes disasters to see the warmest parts of people. I can tell you that since having Regan, I’ve found myself wondering why it took me having a child with special needs to find this whole world I never knew existed. B.R. (before Regan) I lived in a bubble of comfort in which I never experienced any serious hardship. In the most literal sense, I lived in a state of ignorance. I.R. (in the time of Regan), I’ve joined this new world with parents and family and advocates ready and willing to help, like a hand-in-hand rescue in a Category 4 hurricane.
Regan recently had an appointment at CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) where she was evaluated as a new patient in their Trisomy 21 Program. She was evaluated by a pediatrician and speech, occupational and physical therapists. They all emphasized that Regan is doing fabulously so far, measuring developmentally from 6 to 9 months. She’s 9 months, so she is either on target, or not far behind her developmental milestones. This is absolutely incredible, considering that she was in heart failure for 3 months and was very limited for six weeks following her open-heart surgery. Her success is due in no small part to our “village”. Our families, our doctors, our teacher-therapist who comes weekly, and all the prayers and love we’ve received in her 9 months of life have given her the support she needs to reach these milestones.
I write this because I could have never imagined how desperately I would need help, warmth, a “howdy” from a world I never thought I’d be a part of. A world, if I’m honest in my deep dark thoughts, I was afraid of. I write this asking if you’re living in a bubble of comfort –something I know well! –I ask you to look within and look around to see how you can share your “howdy” with someone in your neighborhood. I was ignorant to this before and I wish I hadn’t been.
I love the support we’ve seen in this country in the past month. I’m sorry that it’s been through the eye of a storm, and I continue to pray for this impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. I hope that we see a calm AFTER the storm now, and that we can continue to spread our “Howdy” in our worlds.
Love y’all – gig ‘em, Ags!