T for Two

photo (17)      Timothy loves to ride like Miss Daisy in the jogging stroller.  He digs the forward facing jogger and is able to see and give his opinion of the world in front of him.  Timo and I have an unspoken agreement that if we go past a park, we stop and play on the swings (as long as I get to swing first).

I was jogging with Timothy earlier this week and we stopped by our neighborhood park, where I started talking with a dad and mom with a two year old boy.  We had a nice conversation and had a lot in common.

Now, I’ve been out of the ‘parent-toddler meet and greet’ circuit for a long time, and so I wasn’t sure what to do next.  Since TRBL has navigated this social rodeo many times with Laura, I motioned to him about whether I should ask for their phone number for a future play date or hug them when we were done.  Timothy held up a hand as if to say ‘slow down, don’t look desperate – I got this.’  And while he’s probably right that I was a bit overzealous, pushing all of my chips in front of a two year who is not yet speaking was probably not the best plan, either.  And so that family got away.  But after more than a little finger pointing, Timothy and I put our heads together and agreed we won’t let that happen again.  Not at our park.

photo (15)                                    photo (14)

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Elisabeth is having a great experience in India.  She’s been there a month and enjoys her host family, has started school and has really bonded with five other new exchange students (one American, two Swedish and two Mexican students).  She is keeping a blog at www.elisabethinindia.blogspot.com .

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Timothy turns two years old on Thursday, August 29th.  This is hard to believe.

There are so many things we’ve learned during our stay with Timothy, but what sticks out for me consistently is gratitude.

Life is not always candy corn and short ribs around our house, but even when things are not going well, I have an overarching feeling of optimism, of resiliency, and of gratitude that has much to do with our 730 days with Timothy Robert Brandon Lee.

I’m sure that feeling is the result of a lot of things – of getting news that our baby had Down syndrome and feeling really really sad and then eventually realizing that it’s going to be just fine.  Of meeting other people who’ve been through a similar journey and have a great attitude and sense of humility and humor.  Of looking at the world through a different, and sometimes scary lens, and finding both hope and a greater empathy for people who are different and who struggle and who need help.  Of feeling the support of friends and family, and finding real comfort in prayer and faith.  Of seeing the good that Timothy brings out in other people.  Of closing the fake gap between people ‘with’ a disability and people ‘without’ a disability and becoming much more comfortable with our own vulnerabilities.

And of realizing the power of a simple question that a friend asked prior to Timothy’s birth — “Where’s the gift?”    I just love that question and I ask it all the time when things are not going as well as I’d like.  And you know what – there are always a lot of gifts, lots of good to take away, even — and maybe especially — during the tough times.

photo (21)

Don’t let me kid you – hanging out with Timothy for two years hasn’t been tough – it’s been a gift (even if it didn’t feel like much of a gift when he woke us up at 4:30 this morning).

Still so very grateful,

The Lees

This entry was posted in Down syndrome, Parenting lessons -- Don't try this at home, Sleep and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to T for Two

  1. Carol Michalke says:

    Dear Jack,
    You have such a gift for writing. I’ve mentioned this to you in the past, but it surely is worth repeating. You may never know the depth and magnitude of the many lives your honest, humorist and loving stories about Timothy have reached, but be assured that for many they will be life changing.
    I am especially in agreement with you in recognizing the gift that Timothy presents in your life.
    Having grown up with 2 younger siblings whose lives were severely physically challenged, I can say wholeheartedly that their lives were and are an extremely great blessing and gift in my life.
    The gratitude I feel is overwhelming and I say this being fully aware of those precious moments when fatigue, etc. may make the gift seem not so sweet. ( your 4:30am example) You and Laura already know that God always provides that extra grace just when you need it most.
    Timothy is a very fortunate little boy to have you as parents.
    Thank you for sharing. With lots of love from Carol Michalke (John, too)

  2. MGLee says:

    Dearest Jack,
    I totally agree that gratitude is what is most prevalent (thank God for spellcheck). As Tom said, Timothy went from a worry to the STAR of the family. Everyone LOVES him! We are so blessed to have TRBL in our family. We love you all. Mom and Dad

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