This year we decided on something artistic. I met a local artist and photographer, Nat, at the Starbucks at Pilgrim's Square. She invited me to check out her first art show down at Revival in Highland Square and it was incredible. We got to talking and soon Nat was creating a first birthday present for Baby Joey.
I believe in artistic freedom and because I love Nat's style, I knew that whatever she did and however she interpreted Joey's Journey would be perfect. She asked me only 3 questions-- what color represents me, what color represents Tom and what color represents Tommy. I kept thinking to myself-- but this is for Joey. Doesn't she want to know what color represents him? I said red for me, blue for Tom and green for Tommy.
Here is her incredible interpretation--
It just blew me away. She told me the red was me, the blue Tom, the green Tommy and that she chose silver for Joey. He is the heart that binds us all together as a family. What an awesome, awesome commemoration of our family journey during his first year. What I also thought was a very cool coincidence was that Nat chose silver. We are throwing Joey (and everyone who has been so incredibly amazing to us) a Wizard of Oz themed birthday party inspired by the Tin-Man and how he got a heart and Joey's got his heart fixed up. The silver is the perfect color to represent Joey.
If you had asked me just one year ago, two days before the scheduled c-section what I thought our family would look like at this point I would have never dreamed in a million years that it would look this vibrant or this beautiful. I would have never dreamed that my fear that Joey's diagnosis would tear us down and break us apart would actually lead to us being even closer as we have made it through this incredible year.
If you like this painting and would like to see more, visit the Pilgrim's Square Starbucks or visit Revival in Highland Square and you can see more of Nat's amazing work.
Speaking of families and what brings us together or tears us apart-- I received an email yesterday from a young, single mom of a three-year-old son who has Down syndrome. She shared what he means to her and how his father chose to walk away when he was born. She shared that she has lost many friends over her son's differences and their inability to be more compassionate and understanding. She said that my blog had provided her with a sense of having some support. She said that the blog made her want to be stronger for her son. Dear Reader-- thank you for sharing your kind words and for helping feed my soul. Knowing that this young mom felt a connection through reading the blog is so powerful--it's emails like this and the notes and comments that help me learn how much Joey's Journey has to offer the world and how his life is making a difference.
Finally, 12 years ago today, on my mom's birthday, I was commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy. The commissioning was in Columbus, Ohio and I would report to Officer Indoctrination School only 14 months later in October of 2000. Before I had children, if you asked me what I was most proud of in my life I would say without hesitation, "Serving in the Navy." Since having two amazing little boys, my naval service comes in a little bit behind them, but it was truly the journey of a lifetime that I am incredibly proud of.
I think I've perfected the ingredients for The Wicked Witch (only for witches over 21) and now I need to finalize Ruby Slippery Slippers (jello ruby slippers) as well as Glinda's Wand-Wiches. I'm off to see the Wizard!