Dedication Preparation

Today was filled with deep reflection, prayer and hope. My mother and I attended Thatcher’s memorial service to celebrate his life. The service was very nice…The church was filled with hundreds of people that he had touched, the pictures of his life were moving and Eric’s speech was beautiful. As we remembered Thatcher, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of renewed hope for Eli’s future and greatfulness for his life.

Hoping the Paul family feels a sense of peace tonight knowing that their son has touched so many.

Expanding upon the theme of hope, we had our training class for Eli’s dedication tonight. We are excited to dedicate him. It’s a huge statement and emotionally charged commitment- hope for Eli’s future.
I’ve dreamt of the moment for years- watching as other parents dedicate their little ones, beaming with pride on the stage while the congregation “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” over how adorable they are.
My mom and sister helped me pick out his special outfit and Barry is writing a letter to be read to Eli during the ceremony.

The church requires a training class prior to the dedication. The overall theme seemed to be “legacy”- what we will leave behind, how we will be defined and what our children would say about us.
On a day like today, that seemed a loaded question. I began to wonder what our Eli would say about us after we are gone…what things we might have taught him and the kind of person he would be. Hope excitedly grew in my heart- the future looks so amazing for him.
The class leader then asked us to “begin with the end in mind”…to reflect on our child 25 years from now. Who would our child be? What would their legacy be? Imagine your child dedicating their own children. What would your child become?
Again, I tried to imagine this for our son.
To help us envision this future, the class leader began to list examples of what he envisioned for his kids so many years ago. He focused on: the next 18 years, grand kids, and college.
That’s when I realized just how different our vision for Eli is from those of the other parents gathered at out table.
And I began to worry…are these rhetorical questions or do we have to share our thoughts? Do I explain to the class that Eli has Ds? That I want so much for him but our goals are different than typical parents? (thankfully the questions were meant for self reflection. Whew! Cause I had some deep stuff going on in my mind!)
Ours isn’t simply an 18 year commitment, go off to college and get married type of thing. I mean, it could be. We don’t know the future. We sure do want awesome things for Eli.
But I guess what hit me was how differently I viewed that future.
In my mind, what I saw for Eli was: inspirational speaker, child of God, happy, loved and cared for by family. While the rest of the class laughed about hurrying their kids along to college and independent adulthood.

My mom said that she hoped Thatcher’s memorial service had put things into perspective for me. It did. I’m not sad for Eli’s future and we have big big dreams for him. But the realization of how different these dreams are from those of other parents hit me hard today. I guess this is bound to happen more and more- seeing Eli’s differences. At first it made me anxious but after reflecting, I know it’s not a bad thing, just a different perspective than most parents.

What the class made me realize is how bold and exciting Eli’s future is- that we want to work on building a true legacy for him. A lasting one that isn’t rooted in societal norms. That is our commitment to Eli- to bring him up with strong morals and conviction, for him to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and for him to inspire others.

So greatful for a new day and for renewed hope.

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11 Replies to “Dedication Preparation”

  1. Girl, I totally get it. That’s why I look at kids with DS that have been encouraged to succeed in this world. Take Andrew, a 20 year old kid from Canada. He has his own apparel company to fund charities that are important to him. I just bought John one of his shirts as a late father’s day gift. Andrew is a reminder that our kids CAN succeed as long as we encourage them to and provide the tools necessary to achieve those goals. Check him out at http://www.grouphugapparel.com 🙂

    1. I’ve seen his stuff before! You are so right and I know that our boys are meant for some amazing things! I guess the dedication just got me thinking, which made me over-think, which brought me back to all the exciting things in his future. Full circle. Lol
      I don’t know how long it will take for me to stop looping like this, but I guess it’s part of the process.

  2. There is a sense of strength and comfort and maybe security in that different future that you seem to have already you precocious new to DS mom. I think of tough things unlikely to happen like addiction to drugs and estrangement/too much independence! Hugs all around and good luck sharing your different path, it’s good fun once you start! Think ahead that you likely will share many future events with some of these families in the years ahead, might as well start the conversation now. But it’s an interesting journey!

  3. this first year will be tough, but you’ll get through it. eli’s future is not yet written and guess what, he may not like what you have dreamed for him! just like any other kid. 🙂

    1. You are so right! I guess I’m being selfish in that respect- thinking about what I want for him. 😉 who knows? The skys the limit!
      I know this is part of it- I get to thinkin, then I over-think, then I get excited about his future. I don’t know that the “loop” ever ends, does it?

  4. Ashley,

    I just want to thank you for your blog and expressing your feelings during your pregnancy. You and Eli are such an inspiration to me and find myself going back and reading about your pregnancy as I am going through and having the same feelings as you did and love to read about it. I read it whenever my mind goes really south! Just wanted you to know that I appreciate you! Thank you so much!!!

    1. I’m just so glad I can help someone else! Everything you are experiencing is totally normal and it’s ok to feel it! You should! So when your baby gets here you are honest with yourself and you can celebrate instead of mourn. It will be amazing, just hard to see that right now. 🙂

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