I've been a fan of blogging now for a while and have been inspired by writers and artists from around the country. Oh, how I've wanted to join their club; be one of the cool kids. Secretly hoping to hang on the playground or be asked to eat lunch with the likes of Kelle Hampton, Nici Holt Cline & Anna Maria Horner. Oh, what a grand group of gals and what an incredible midday feast that would be! The lunch would be a picnic out there in a field past the playground . . . we'd gather around a handmade quilt, drink wine, eat homemade treats and share our stories. As a new mom, these girls have inspired me . . . inspired me to create, enjoy, embrace and love with gratitude. These gals are mamas as well; they are wives, they are sisters, they are creative and clever and I'm beginning to think that I might just be able to hang. Oh, I realize that I don't have a degree in writing or that fancy camera that I'd do anything to have, but I do have a love for life and the wish to share a few things that make me smile. I don't know how to sew, cook all that well, or whip up a new design for my latest fall fabric line, but I do find joy in lots. So here I go . . . .
It's ok if I never get to have that fancy picnic with those fantastic females in a field past the playground, because if I really think about, I've been blessed to sit beside great women all of my life. My mom, my aunts, my sisters and my dear friends. If you've been lucky enough to have fantastic women in your life, I'd say you're lucky enough. What I'm most grateful for is the fact that I was born with a built-in-best friend. I have a twin sister. Talk about having a great gal by my side my entire life. The bond that she and I share is hard to explain . . . it's a twin thang. Many may not understand the connection that most twins have with each other - jeez, I hardly understand it myself and here I've been, right in the middle of it. It's a bond that is deep, rich, lovely, sometimes trying, but mostly a gift that I've been so glad to have been given. A bond I've been so grateful for as the years have come along. We've needed each other, whether we've wanted to admit it or not.
When we were little, Colleen and I used to crawl into the same twin bed on nights we were scared. Maybe it's that one of us had a bad dream or that we'd fought like cats and dogs earlier in the evening and once we'd settled down it was our way of saying, "I'm sorry". Thank goodness we had the ability to comfort each other, even at such a young age. I'm so grateful for our closeness. Somehow we have the ability to make each other laugh at just the right moment, connect when we need refocusing, and heal each other when we're in need.
When Colleen found out that she was expecting a girl in the spring of 2007, I was thrilled by the thought of inviting another lively lady to the picnic! Lillian Elise Roscoe was born March 27th, 2007. She came to this world in a determined, powerful kind of way. Colleen moved through labor like a champ (crazy girl didn't even take an epidural) and met her daughter with open, loving arms. Colleen was in awe of the powerful moment of birth and meeting her daughter for the first time.
Lilly was born healthy and beautiful and with a little extra magic! Lilly surprised us all on the day she was born by having Down syndrome, which you may know is the addition of a third chromosome on the 21st pair of chromosomes. So, rather than having the typical 46 chromosomes in every cell of her body, Lilly has 47 chromosomes in each cell. As we now like to say: the more the merrier.
For those of you who know me well, it will come as no surprise that this blog is dedicated to my Lilly Girl. Not only is Lilly my twin sister's daughter, she's become one of my dearest friends. Lilly has taught me more about patience, empathy, acceptance, faith, humor, strength and perseverance in her short life . . . more than I've learned from any one person in my 33 years. She has a true zest for life and has been the biggest gift to my family. With all of Lilly's grace and ability, Down syndrome has still given her a few extra challenges. After two MRI’s this summer, it was discovered that Lilly has a rare and unique pattern of instability in the C1-C2 region of her neck. It's been recommended by her neurosurgeon that her neck be fused at that location in order to stop damage (bruising) from continuing on her spinal cord. Her recovery will take six to eight weeks and will involve the use of a non-invasive halo.
I'm writing this blog to honor Lilly as her proud Auntie Kiki. Not only will this make me feel as though I'm contributing to Lilly's healing process from afar (I live six hours away from her), I hope that the blog will also keep family and friends posted on Lilly and her recovery. This will also be a place that Colleen and Matt can come to see your healing words and well wishes. It will be important for their family to have as much support as possible. Be forewarned . . . if you're not already, you will be inspired by Lilly and her story. Her strength will amaze you all.
Here's to loving life and being grateful for all the gifts that we're given. Enjoy life's picnic . . . whether you find yourself with friends in a field past the playground, with your kiddos in the backyard or with you family at the kitchen table. Gobble up life's good and graciously embrace the times that bring challenge to the plate. Cheers to you Lilly Girl . . . thank you for continuing to teach me so much.
"Just you wait until you see what is possible when you shine your little light on this world."