Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Message from my son Brock

 And some pictures at the end :)
Written by Brock: 
"Since it's a question on so many of your minds and some of you have even been 
bold enough to ask, I'll just go ahead and say it: as far as we know, the new 
baby is Normal. 

The word "normal" is a funny thing. Some people really get offended by it, as 
though there never could be any such thing and any suggestion otherwise is to 
set up unjustified, unfair classes of people--have and havenots of the worst 
possible kind. But, as any parent of a special needs kid who has sat down with 
countless doctors, therapists and teachers to review skills progress can tell 
you, there most definitely is a Normal. There are even charts breaking down 
child development into the most minute of detail. Ask Erin at exactly which 
month a child should be able to scoop food with a spoon and I'll bet she could 
tell you off the top of her head. Bear in mind, this is not knowledge she 
actually wants. It's a consequence of having a special needs child. One of many.

Another consequence of having a child like Campbell is that you do not enter 
into the journey to the birth of your next child lightly. There's a reason Cami 
will be nearly six-years-old when Violet Nicole Heasley is born. (Yes, we're 
having another girl and that's her name. Don't steal it.) It takes a long time 
for special needs parents to process the new paradigm of their lives and weigh 
the risk of the new child not being Normal against the blessing of having her. 

Or, maybe it just took us a long time to figure this out. Either way, here we 
are, now, at this time. After lots of tears and struggle. 

None of this is to say that we are not grateful for Cami and what she has 
brought into our lives. Here's the thing about Cami: she's better than you. Cami 
doesn't sin. Cami is obedient. Cami is always happy, always has a smile  and 
loves everyone. If you smell bad, Cami will hug you. If you yell at her, she 
will forgive you. Instantly. Cami is perfect.

And there's something wrong with Cami. She's not Normal. 

Erin and I are Normal (possibly I less so), but we are not perfect. The first 
three years of Cami's life were some of the worst times we have ever 
experienced. The uncertainty, the worry, the disappointments when Cami did not 
meet her goals were, at times, more than we thought we could bear. We never had 
a diagnosis; never knew what was wrong with her. We desperately wanted to do 
everything we could to "make her right," but were always halted by the fact that 
we didn't really know what was wrong. We still don't. Erin and I are as strong a 
team as any I've ever seen, but the divorce rate among special needs parents is 
much, much higher than the average. And I absolutely know why.

The change that occurred in our lives after those first three years was slow and 
gradual. It started with backing off from the idea that God would make it all 
better right now. Instead, we started to accept what was happening and not think 
about the future. At all. We also started loving Cami for exactly who she is, 
and, save for those few inevitable reminders when someone says something 
thoughtlessly or a child we guess to be about the same age as Cami comes 
bounding by calling out for "Mommy," we don't think of her as anything but 
normal. Normal and perfect.

Everyone wants to know, but hardly anyone actually asks, "Are you afraid the 
next one will be like Cami?" Well, heck yes we are. As big a blessing as Cami is 
in our lives, we sure don't want to go through all this again. Maybe that's 
selfish. I know of parents out there who purposefully adopt children with 
special needs. Kudos to them, but we don't have that in us. This life Erin and I 
and Elora and Cami have together is tough stuff. Rewarding, but tough. 

Ask Erin and she'll tell you there's a lot about Cami's first year that she 
can't remember. That was the hardest year. We hold the experiences of that 
beginning time very close to us, something only to be talked about in the most 
reverent and safe of moments. It is not fodder for hallway discussion and the 
satisfying of curiosity. When people ask us about our next child and whether 
there is anything wrong with her, that gets right to the heart of our deepest 
fears and takes us right back to our most difficult times. A time that is so 
intensely personal and private. It's a mystery to us why anyone would think we'd 
want to be reminded about it in passing. 

I think people, even our friends and family, are well-intentioned but often 
bolder than they should be when it comes to a situation like ours. There are 
times and seasons when it is wholly appropriate to speak of our most sacred and 
special times, those times when the Lord has tested us and blessed us. And then 
there are other times when celebration is in order, when all is hope and 
excitement. That's the time we're in right now. Whatever else happens after 
February 18th, this is our time to be joyful with an eye toward the great 
blessing that a third child will bring into our lives. 

We hope that you can all join with us in that. Thank your for all of your 
support and well-wishes." 
Last week Den and I took Cami to the pumpkin patch. 
Just Den and I, and our little Cam Cam.  
We barely made it back in time before her school started.
All morning we had been peering into her mouth to see her first missing tooth. 
She would not let us take a look. 
So as I told her teacher my disappointment, she said, 
"Just tell her you want to see her missing tooth and she will show you." 
Why didn't we think of that? 
So I said, "Cami can I see your missing tooth?" 
She very proudly opened her mouth!


cristie said...

I can relate to this post. Your son Brock has well expressed the reality of being a parent with this challenge. I too have a special needs daughter who is now 28 years old. She is the 5th out of 8 children. This journey with her has been heaven/hell and enhanced our family in some amazing ways. xox

Jared and Heather said...

What a beautiful post by Brock, it brought tears to my eyes. Best wishes to their family, I am looking forward to seeing pictures of new baby Violet (gorgeous name by the way) next year.

darlene said...

Thank you, Brock, for that. Well-written and very clear. I rejoice with you in the excitement and hope that this new bundle of joy is bringing your family. I appreciate this heartfelt reaching out to friends and family. It helps get us firmly onboard with you. Right where we belong.

Sue said...

What a great son!

What a neat family!

I wish all of you much joy with little Miss (in waiting) Violet!


Mar~ said...

Such wonderfully written feelings. Tell Brock thank you. Erin and Brock are both fabulous people.
I fell in love with Cami at Tyler and Karen's wedding! She is lovely in every way! As is Elora. What personalities!
Congratulations on Violet. I'm sure she will be a complete doll just like her big sisters.

Grandpa and Susan said...

Thanks Brock for sharing your personal feelings and speaking for Erin, too. You have a great talent for writing and expressing yourself.

We appreciate you and Erin and absolutely love your sweet girls. We especially relished your description of Cami and her perfection. Perhaps that is why there is always such a special spirit around her.

It is exciting to know ahead of time the name of Violet Nicole. What a beautiful name!

Thanks again for educating us. Our sincere love and prayers are with you.

Grandpa and Susan

grandmapeg said...

My heart was touched deeply by Brock's words. As you know Jill, I have an older special needs sister, so I know a little of what Brock and Erin are going through, although I know that it is completely different as parents than as a sibling. It takes strong, special people to be parents of a special needs child and I've admired Brock and Erin for this. From the pictures I've seen of Cami, she is indeed a sweetheart. Thank you so much for sharing Brock and Erin's feelings on this. They are in my prayers. Thank you for sharing the pumpkin patch pictures and for the cute picture of Cami's first missing tooth!

C Dawn's bucket said...

As a mom of two sons with special needs I felt Brock's letter resonate within me. I wish him, Erin and their (soon to be) three beautiful daughters all the best.

Kris said...

We love every inch and ounce of Cami. :) Beautifully written, Brock.

Grandmotherfairy said...

Thank you for sharing Brock's brought back memories of our own special need's grandchildren. The pictures of Cami's school look so familiar...thank you!

Karen Mortensen said...

You know how I feel about Cami. She is a doll. I love that girl. I wish I could see her more often.

I really liked Brock's writing. I wish I could express my feelings like he does. Sometimes it is hard to put these type of feelings in words.

I am so glad they are able to have another baby. She will be adorable too. I love the name.

Lisa said...

CAMI's SO CUTE! I love how she digs her grandpa!

Reading Brock's letter was like a "flashback" for me. I can't recall anyone being curious or wondering if I was gonna have another one like Jasmine, but FOR SURE I was worried! Daniel scared the heck outta me when he was born because all of his facial features reminded me of her!

I immediately had him undergo all sorts of test but they came out fine. He does however, suffer from bi-polor condition. The meds he's on has been a lifesave AND he ended up being the GEM in my life that HELPS ME the most w/ Jasmine.

I'm excited for Brock n Erin! I just heard the name Cassandra & thought that would be such a great name for a girl! I guess they already have one pegged so that's one less thing to worry about!