Jack’s 8th Birthday. How he’s changed me.

8 years ago, I sat in a hospital bed, just having given birth to Jack by emergency c-section. Little did I know that the unexpected events of how his delivery went, would pale in comparison to the unexpected news that would come shortly after, and change our lives forever.  His birth diagnosis of Down syndrome was given in such an abrupt and insensitive way, starting our journey with confusion, shock, and fear. 

Navigating those first months, the grief and tears came because I was holding onto the real and raw feelings that having a child with Down syndrome was not a part of my plan.  As a goal-oriented person, I certainly wasn’t prepared to slow my pace down with special needs, additional appointments, therapies, and all that comes with the journey of Down syndrome.

Those tears also came because of the fear of how it would change us.  Slowly, I accepted that I wasn’t in control, which led me to surrender my plans.  This opened my eyes to a whole new perspective allowing me to truly accept Jack for who he is, embracing every part of him and this journey, which has produced a love and life I wish everyone could know. 

Since his birth, we’ve been honored to welcome and celebrate over 3,750 babies around the world (29 countries…what?!?), providing hope to new families through Jack’s Basket.  Hope that the future is filled with love, joy, and growth.  I never would have imagined that an idea of celebrating his 1st birthday with a gift basket for another family would ever impact the world the way it has.  I am thankful for the call that has been placed on my heart to celebrate these precious babies, encourage and connect parents, and create change in how the diagnosis is given by healthcare providers.  I am most thankful for a little boy named Jack that changed my heart in the very best ways.

Jack’s love for people is contagious and it’s given freely without conditions.   He knows exactly the perfect time for a hug.  My new favorite thing he tells me (besides I love you) is, “Mom, calm down.   Take a breath.”  Yes, Jack…thank you, I’ll take a breath.  When he senses someone’s angry or frustrated, he draws in close, places his arm on your back and asks, “You happy?” His simple questions and phrases remind me of what is important.  He challenges me to be empathetic, to be near, and to love no matter what.   

Because of Jack, I am more patient and accepting.  Because of him, I choose to go outside of what’s comfortable and easy, to advocate and speak life into a broken world.  Jack has encouraged me to look at each person, created with a purpose, with an ability to make the world a better place.  My heart wishes that the world would do the same for him. 

I would not change him for the world, but I will change the world because of him

Happy 8th Birthday, Jack.  You make me better.  Always.

A special way to celebrate Jack’s birthday is to join the Birth Day Club! This committed monthly donation helps Jack’s Basket bring hope, eliminate bias, and celebrate babies. Click the link to join the club today!  www.jacksbasket.org/birth-day-club

1 Comment

  • Sally Sertich

    HBD, Jack! 8 high fives for you, Pal.
    I love reading your Mom’s thoughts about you! She’s a great gift, as are you!

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