Thursday, November 17, 2011

Renewing the Commitment

When someone gets baptized in the Presbyterian church (as well as in other faith traditions), there is a moment where the congregation is asked to reflect on their own baptisms. I love this. It's a way to think back to when you were presented by your parents and later made your own commitment to step out and claim your own faith.

I don't know about you, but I need these times to reflect. Life is busy. Days with 3 little boys who are up early and don't really nap are busy and without much (if any) downtime. There is always something to do, something coming up, something going on.

But reflection is still really important.

When Dean was born, I remember hearing the words "I'm almost positive your son has Prader-Willi syndrome" from the geneticist who saw him at two days old (thank you again, Dr. David Harris; you will always be a special person to our family). We learned about Dean's prognosis, potential issues, and quality of life. I remember being so very desperate just to know how long we might have Dean in our lives. The answer was, hopefully, for a long time. And then, I committed, for however long that time might be, to give Dean a good life. I held my tiny, floppy baby in my arms and tears fell all over him as I swore that we would give him a good life. We couldn't overcome this horrible disease that was sabotaging his body, but we would make all possible light and good come out of it.

I have never felt that determined in all of my life.

And in many ways, it was a resolve to be THAT parent to all of my children, past, present, and future (to be clear, Emmett is it, as far as we know in terms of future :)). Like standing in church and witnessing the baptism of another little soul, it was a re-commitment to my role as Mom and advocate for these precious boys.

Today was another day where I thought back to this. All 3 boys are sick and have been to the doctor in the past day or so (Emmett coincidentally for a well check, so that worked out). When my boys are sick, they slow down only briefly, but it's enough time to stop and reflect on where they are as little people. I'm not thankful they are ill, but I'm thankful for the time to slow down and be more fully with them. I'm thankful to be their mom. And we're going to give them a good life. All of them.


Kevin said...

During the time when we were having "adventures" with our children, people would ask how we did it. I responded that we did it by doing what had to be done at that time. There wasn't much time for reflection and that often made it easier. I remember a young woman seeing me at work in the lab on a Saturday and asking if that was how I was coping with the current situation. She was having to deal with her new son needing surgery to correct some birth defects. She called it their "Riley moment", named after the children's hospital. Her comments made known the empathy that stressed parents can experience. This is what this blog has become. The community brings us out of the loneliness that we can fall into.

Katie said...

Ali, I am always amazed at your positive response to difficult situations. I agree with Kevin's idea that this blog helps to bring us together and that we can keep in touch with problems that we experience and furthermore, we are better equipped to know how to pray for the needs in the family and elsewhere. Love you folks. Grandma Katie

Ali Foley Shenk said...

Thanks, Uncle K and Grandma. My hope when I started this blog was that it would be helpful to many, not just myself. Because, you know, it's therapy for me, too. But I would just keep a diary if it were just for me. :) So I'm glad it's helpful.