Sunday, November 4, 2012

Your Heart is So Big

You at your second birthday party - September 2012

Dearest Elyse –

Our friend and neighbor, Kim, watches you about once a month. She is a Mom of two boys and really connected with you when you were a newborn and now you hold a big piece of her heart. She watches you once a month and she and her boys (Lance and Logan) enjoy their “girl time” with you. We like that you have such an extended network of people who love you and that Kim and her family enjoy you as much as we do. That makes our hearts happy.
I went to pick you up from Kim’s house on Wednesday afternoon. She said she had something she wanted to tell me.

Kim is an ER nurse. She recently heard of a local 56 year old man who has Down’s syndrome, is under hospice care and lives with his 89 year old mother. Kim learned that his mother was no longer able to bathe him as she always had given her own limitations. Given her background (and big heart), Kim agreed to step in and visit the family once a week to help with his bathing.
Kim brought you along for one of her weekly visits to this mother and son. Kim said you were a little shy meeting them. The man extended his hand to shake with you (his traditional greeting), but you cowered in response. Kim assured me that none of this surprised her as this was a new setting with a lot of factors that might cause you to hold back a bit. Kim was easily able to transition you to watch cartoons with the mother while Kim went in to help the son have his bath.

After his bath, the man came into the living room and put out his hand once again in an attempt to shake your hand. To everyone’s surprise, you got up from the couch and ran over to him, bypassing his outstretched hand, to give him a big hug. Kim said the man seemed a bit surprised and gently patted your back.
Kim said, “Now Courtney. I need you to understand. This man has Down’s syndrome and rarely speaks – so he looks and acts differently than what Elyse is used to. Also, he is sick. He probably weighed about 140 pounds before he got sick, now weighs about 75 and his skin is now literally hanging. Your daughter had over a million reasons to not feel comfortable enough to shake his hand. She saw none of that. It was so great - it was a wonderful moment that really showed her love and generous nature.”

This story touches me in a variety of ways. I wish we could all see the world through the eyes of our children. Your innocence and love is something we can all learn from. I’d like to think that part of this is the unique heart of my daughter and I am so proud to hear how you loved this man and touched so many of us who have heard this story.

I am already so proud of you, sweet girl.



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