Aimee and I met the Britz family last summer at the Bolingbrook Spa and Resort (another name for Scott and Jane's pool). Scott & Jane loved having people over to hang out around the pool, drink summer beverages, play games, talk and eat.
When we first met Joe and Anne, Carina was about one year old. The amazing part is that she wasn't expected to be alive. She was born with a severe developmental disability that would never allow her to grow. The original prognosis was that she would pass shortly after birth. Yet one year later she was still the apple of Joe's eye and the center of Ann's love.
As we spent some time with this special family around the pool I saw how much they truly loved Carina, despite never knowing how much longer they would have this little girl in their life.
I take these opportunities to think about my own life and realize how lucky I have been. After 22 and 19 years, I have two "kids" that are healthy, well balanced young adults. It's painful sometimes to watch them learn things on their own, but I know it's all a part of growing up. At least I have the opportunity to watch my son and daughter continue to grow. I pray that they will have healthy children as well.
I think of my other friends dealing with hardship or special needs children.
Jason and his 4 year old son Dakota who has Leukemia.
Cyndi's family and her oldest son with Autism.
And Rick just left his son with Autism behind in search of a job in California, how hard that must be.
This little glimpse into the lives of families with special needs children helps me appreciate what they do as parents. Some people may comment, "I don't know how they do it." Parents do it because they love their children. And any decent parent will do whatever it takes for their children. Even if it's long stays at the hospital, sleepless nights next to their bed, whatever the circumstance calls for.
I appreciate and admire what these special parents do day to day.
Carina passed the other day. Aimee and I visited the family tonight to offer our condolences. The pain in their faces evident from the passing of their only child. The comfort of everyone gathering together in support. The memories of her by the pool as we stood by her casket....she looked so peaceful and beautiful.
Thank you for allowing us to be a part of you short but special life.
Even in heaven...Game On