Monday, August 22, 2011

Let's talk about miracles, big and small

Before I had Max, miracles to me were fantastical bible events or the stuff of movie magic like It's A Wonderful Life. Miracles never seemed remotely related to reality.

Then I had Max.

I was discussing this the other day at a BabyBjorn event to celebrate the Baby Carrier Miracle, out in October. It felt good on; I miss that baby-close-to-your-heart stage. And it was very comfy, from the way it fit to the softness of the fabric.

Of course, one of the nice perks about the carrier is that it hides post-baby flab from your previous kids. How awesome does my stomach look here? Fake babies are very becoming.

I enjoyed being hired to speak on a panel that included Nicole from Mom Trends and Mike from Playground Dad. Also amazing: The lovely BabyBjorn people are giving a generous donation to Reece's Rainbow Adoption Ministry, a non-profit that helps find homes for orphans with Down Syndrome around the world.

What I especially loved was that when BabyBjorn found my blog, they saw a miracle in Max.

Not everyone does; some people look at Max and see only a child with disabilities, I know. But there are many, many Max miracles. The little ones happen whenever he says a new word or sight reads a new word or runs down our block, doing stuff doctors never thought he would. It's also a little miracle every single time he smiles—I swear, sunshine shoots out of that kid.

And then, there are the big miracles. Like the fact that a doctor told us we could sign a Do Not Resuscitate at Max's birth and now, look at him. And how much progress he's made, and keeps making. And, most memorable of all, the day he took his first steps. That was Miracle Day.

It was Max's third birthday. He'd been zooming around for months on his walker and tentatively taking steps when we held his hand. Dave and I were standing in Max's room. Dave was on one side, holding Max, and I walked a few feet away. I threw open my arms. "Walk to Mommy, Max!" I pleaded. "Walk to me!"

And Dave let go of Max's hand and Max took that wobbly first step toward me. And then he took another. And another. And then he toddled right into my arms, a huge grin on his face, as Dave and I cried big fat tears of happiness. It felt so surreal, after all the praying and therapy and equipment: Max. Walking. On his own.

I never did believe in miracles. But you can bet I do now.

What's been miraculous to you about your child?


  1. So much.

    But if I had to pick one moment, it would be her fourth birthday when she blew out her candles all by herself. I cried. She was born with a cleft palate and had issues with speech and nasal air emissions among other things. For her, blowing out candles was HUGE. For me, it was nothing short of a miracle.

  2. We didn't know if our daughter would survive in the beginning, so her life feels like a miracle. But I can really relate to the walking - she has just started walking at 3 and 4 mos. - we are so proud and will soon hold a walking party to celebrate!

  3. Ha--having one at my advanced age!

    I thought he was indigestion!

    I would have loved one of those carriers--they do look comfy, don't they? I'll bet they're not cheap, but they do look very well made....I stumbled over to the link and watched the videos!

  4. Once I had my second child, and saw how easily everything came to him, I realized what a miracle my first (Max!) was. I am still amazed at how much work it took to teach him how to sit up. Something we all really take for granted, and something most children don't struggle with took months and months of early intervention.

  5. Walking is amazing for our kids isn't it. I'm waiting for that day to come very soon. Saturday my daughter Ashley ate lunch just sitting at an arm chair no booster or seat belt and cleared her plate she's 6 that was a first. When she stated to eat at 4 that felt like a miracle to me after years of tube feeding. Now she loves eating Miraculous!!! Sweet post ellen I loved reading Max's walking story.

  6. I have two BIG moments... at 17 weeks gestation they told me my son was missing the entire lower left chamber of his heart and had a 20% chance of making it till the next ultra sound much less birth and would need immediate open heart surgery after birth...that I should save myself the suffering and abort. I went back in a few weeks later expecting to be devastated but instead his chamber had grown out of no where and he now only had a slight birth his heart was perfect:) I have to go with walking also. Baily was 30 months old when he finally took off. He had been cruising for a while and we always chanted go, go, go cheering him on. I will never forget the day he let go his cute chubby cheeks as he himself said go, go, go, go. I laughed, I screamed, I cried.

  7. When Elena signed me her first word (phrase, I guess..."I'm thirsty" by signing water and milk repeatedly) at about 13 (?) months, about 4 months after we started signing. It opened the floodgates of communication, when previously she barely made any sound (hardly even cried). She learned rapidly, up to 60 signs in the next few months and then started talking by the end of that year (2.5 years old). You'd never know it today, though...girl is a motormouth!

  8. I completely understand about Max's Miracles. My little guy has had such a rough start at life but man alive his attitude, compassion and zest for life is such a miracle. He's the hardest working kid in preschool (his teachers words not mine). Despite all that he's been through (dozens of surgeries) he is doing well academically. He is walking! It took until he was 2 years old but he is walking!

  9. - walking with his frame
    - lighting a room up when he walks in
    making friends without being verbal
    - getting the word "inspirational" in his school report
    - being registered partially sighted but not missing one tiny thing that goes on
    - using a computer mouse to access laptop programs
    It is not disingenuous to say these children light up our lives and genuinely make us really step up our parenting skills to a new level.

  10. I love your blog! Glad I found you, and yes, it is so good to connect. When I look at my son with Ds, I see a miracle in every way. He is perfect.

    I believe it is a miracle that I have been entrusted to love and watch over such a sweet, loving special human being.

    My wish for his life is for others to see past the Down syndrome (his "diff"-ability) and see the beauty of my sweet boy.

  11. My daughter is a living, breathing miracle.

    She was born with a whole host of medical issues, including the need for open heart surgery at 4 months of age. She quit breathing 3 times during those 4 months, and the last time we were in the hospital with her for a "breathing episode", they actually sent us home with orders to brush up on our infant CPR! There was literally nothing else they could do until heart surgery.

    My husband is a preacher and I remember sharing with our church congregation one day that we don't often tell them everything that goes on with Lily because I'm so afraid people will think of her as our "sick child".

    One sweet person told me something I'll never forget. She said, "When I look at Lily, I don't see a sick child. I see a miracle. I see God."

    I've never forgotten those words. Because that's exactly what I see when I look at her.

  12. Everyday is a miracle with my precious Gianna. I am a first time mother and she was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus (water on the brain) at two weeks old. By the time she was 4 months my daughter underwent 4 major surgeries. She is now 17 months old and doesn't do a whole lot but we are in early intervention and each day she gets stronger. We pray for the day she sits up and crawls and walks and talks. A few months ago she was diagnosed with a genetic anomaly. She is missing a tiny piece of her 13th chromosome. There are hardly any documented cases of her exact deletion so no one will give us a straight answer of her future. We pray and pray and pray that this set back will not only make us better parents but make her a better person. She truly is a special miracle. We started a huge prayer chain on facebook :

    Thank you!

  13. My miracle moment happened while I was lying on my operating table just before my operation I realized that none of what society said mattered actually mattered not the houses, the cars or the money I remember thinking Please don't let me die I haven't done anything yet

  14. This gave me such a big smile!

  15. I remember waiting for Sebastian's smile. It felt like forever, he was a few weeks late in the official smile milestone. And then his laughter. He first laughed out loud when I was running down the hallway, holding him close to me, also putting slight pressure on his abdomen. Every time he laughs my heart melts. Every time.

  16. I know it's not the environmentally correct thing to do, but I am printing out these comments and carrying them around with me. They are so heartening, inspiring and uplifting.

  17. Marley just fully started walking today! She's been taking a step or two but this is walking!!!! For a baby who wasn't supposed to live past a year it's a true miracle!
    I managed to catch it on my phone at the Drs office.

    Sent from my iPhone

  18. Two weeks post-op after having a canalplasty - which is an ear canal built for her because she was born without one - we were on our way back home. I was packing up our hotel room (out of town surgery) and I was letting her watch PBS. She called to me while I was packing up our toiletries and said, "Mommy! Mom! I can hear! I can hear out of my surgery side!"

    I wept.

  19. Hi

    I found this blog threw Nisha blog.
    Boy this story and the comments bring
    so many memory back for me with our son.
    He was suppose to be born on his dad's birthday but came 1 month early weighing 3 pounds 3 and 3/4 ounces.
    The doctor told me when they are that small they do nothing but sleep and he wouldn't be home for several months. But he proved the doctors wrong. He had to have oxygen and it looks just like a cake lid now. well he heard my voice and started setting off ever thing he was hooked up to and he try to pull the oxygen lid off to.
    seeing his little fingers on that lid and him trying to pull it off
    he was in the hospital from august 10 till august 31.
    he had a nurse come ever month to check on him. i could go on and on about him.
    All these babies and children are special gifts from god I know I've 6 of them.

    have a great day and thanks for sharing
    bonnie squires

  20. I just wrote about his on my blog! Everything my little gal does it a miracle to me - even the time she drew on the walls! Every word, every time she tells me something or looks at me... its all such a miracle. And I am so blessed because I feel the same way about my (so far) typical son. I think it is one of the (many) blessings of the special needs kiddo. Everything and anything can be a huge victory!


Thanks for sharing!

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