This Mama Heart

Oh, my mama heart has been all over the place in the last week. It’s hard to even articulate the journey it’s been on, but I can feel it immensely right now while I sit working at Starbucks without my sweet little Sammy. I’m trying to be productive, but I keep thinking about him, wondering if he’s taking his bottle well or if he’s missing his mama. I know he’s in wonderfully caring arms, but I still want to be the one holding him. These steps are just hard for a mama with her new baby.

oh, hello, couch

The roller coaster began on Monday evening when we attended our first Down Up North meeting in the basement of an old church on Superior Street. Down Up North is the Duluth area group for families of those with Down syndrome. I was glad that we were able to go through the summer without the expectation of attending a meeting since they don’t meet in the summer. I wouldn’t have been ready. Yes, I want the support, and I want to meet other families and hear about more resources and such, but my heart just wasn’t at a place to take it in. I often forget that my baby carries an extra special chromosome. Right now he’s just like every other baby, so it can be tough when I meet others with Down syndrome. Not tough in a bad way, but tough in a way of realizing that there are so many things I don’t know yet and so many things I want to be able to do for my Sammy. I want the world to forever see him exactly as I do. In all honesty, it can just be a little scary.

look at this!

So, anyway, we went to this meeting and it was wonderful. As we made our way to the church basement, we were greeted by a couple who led us to a play room where we met six or seven amazing families. Families that are so much like ours. There were even three little blonde haired boys, each right around two years, who melted my heart thinking of where we’ll be in two years. They had the sweetest, bright-eyed smiles as their moms introduced them. Ella made herself right at home, showing off to the college girls who spent the meeting entertaining the kids and teaching the younger kids every new trick she could think of. Pete, Sam, and I made our way to a big room where we were able to pull tables together to sit in a big circle. The next couple hours were spent talking about life – our jobs, our families, our experiences with Down syndrome. By the time chairs were being stacked and kids were returned to parents, I didn’t know if I was ready to leave. I have so many questions that I want to ask real people, people who have been to doctor visits and school meetings. Real people are a whole lot different than the black and white pages of a book. But I know I can’t take everything in at one time. What I took in that night at our first family meeting, though, was incredibly encouraging and very sweet. We’re certainly not on this journey alone. And that is good for my heart.

mama, I’m pretty tired

 Another loop in this roller coaster has been the decision to hire a nanny for Ella and Sam. We had a wonderful sitter last year who came two hours most weekdays to be with Ella so I could study. Shelby. Shelby was a junior nursing student and Ella absolutely adored her. Shelby still comes on Tuesday nights so Pete and I can have a date night each week, but her schedule didn’t allow her the consistent weekly hours that I’ve been hoping for. About six weeks ago I began a search for someone who could make this a part-time job to give me time to bake at the kitchen in the afternoons and get in some research for my thesis. Let me tell you, we found a gem. God definitely had a hand in connecting us with Miss Donna. Miss Donna moved to Duluth just last week and will be getting married next month to a business owner here in town. She is sweet, sensitive, creative, gentle, and a grandma. A grandma! Can it get better than that for someone who is going to be spending almost every afternoon with my little ones? Oh, and one more plus. She’s Southern. With an accent. That’s like icing on the cake. Or sprinkles on the icing. Or a cherry on the sprinkles on the icing, because that’s how good she seems. We spoke on the phone and sent emails back and forth before we met yesterday, which made me feel good about the choice to add Miss Donna to the family, but after meeting her in person, I’m quite sure of it. And to be extra sure? As Miss Donna was getting ready to leave yesterday after our first visit, Ella turned and asked, “Mama, can we keep her?” Yes, my love, we can keep her.

oh, my big sister, Ella

It’s not been an easy decision to hire someone to be with Ella & Sam in the afternoons, especially since Ella is at preschool every morning. I’ll be using the afternoon hours to establish more of a regular baking time to fill orders and to take online decorating technique classes. I know it’s good for me to have my own time. I completely understand why lots of mamas (and dads) struggle with the desire to do our own thing while also wanting to spend our time with our little ones.

she thinks it funny to tickle my nose

So I did it. My biggest accomplish of the day was that I was able to leave my little Sammy with Miss Donna and have alone time at Starbucks to write and do some school work and get a little kitchen business done. It was not easy. My heart longed for him even before I walked out the door. It was good he was sleeping when I left or I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it. When I get home, I’m going to cuddle up with both my babes.

oh, this is the best

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We’re just over a week away from the Step Up for Down Syndrome walk with Sammy’s Superheroes! I plan to make their costumes this Sunday so we’ll be ready for the big day. We’re getting so close to our team goal of $2,000! If you’re still thinking about donating to Sammy’s team, just click on the button on the right side of blog. Whether you’re able to give or not, we would love to have you join us for the walk. We’ll be meeting at the DECC at 12:30 on Sunday, September 30 where there will be snacks and big bouncy houses for the kiddos. At 1:30 we’ll all be walking through Canal Park. It’s nothing strenuous. We’ll keep our own pace and have a great time, no matter the weather! Dress like a superhero if you’re feeling adventurous! We certainly are! Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

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Miss Ella decided to finish my workout with me yesterday. Look at her form! Pretty sure it’s better than mine. 

Happy Thursday!


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4 Responses to This Mama Heart

  1. Chanda says:

    Oh, that is so hard! I still struggle when I leave my Lydie, and she is almost nine months!
    And i am so glad you found kindred spirits on Monday! I am always so thankful when i find people who have walked a similar road and will let me glean their wisdom.

  2. Zena Trout says:

    Your first meeting description was exactly the way we felt….10 years ago. Enjoy your time away from your littles, it is time well spent.

  3. brynmj says:

    It was great to hear your heart, openness, and vulnerability about your life and family. I know sometimes it’s hard to tell what people are really going through when you aren’t living close to them, and sometimes you make it look so easy! Not that I don’t want it to be easy for you – it’s just cool to hear your honesty. : ) I’m so glad that the down syndrome support meeting was so good for your heart and that you connected so well. Also that you found a nanny for the kids so that you can have some time to do your thing! Sounds like God really provided for your tender heart. Hope the walk is fun!

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