As children, we think that life is all fun and games. We don’t think about the future, because we are busy having fun. Kids have no idea what life is going to throw at them, and they don’t care. They live for today, and they know that their lives are going to be amazing. And of course, for the most part they are, but in reality every life has it’s challenges. good and bad times, as well as happy and sad times. It’s really what we choose to do with these times that shows the true nature of the person we have become.
My nephew, Chris Iverson, truly loves life. He is a family man, first and foremost. He loves to go fishing, and from what I have seen , he is a pretty good fisherman. I’m sure he finds it relaxing, and exciting, like most avid fishermen do. The rest of us…non-fishermen…just find it boring, but to each his own. Chris is an outdoorsy kind of guy, and I’m sure that all that goes together quite well with fishing.
Nevertheless, life happens, and on July 3, 2011, Chris, and his wife, my niece Cassie, had a baby named Lucas. Lucas was born with Down Syndrome, which they knew about in advance. I suppose that some people would have told them to abort the baby, but Lucas was their son, and it didn’t matter. Over the past 3½ years, Chris and Cassie have been amazing parents to Lucas. Lucas is a happy and quite active little boy, and he fills every day with so much joy for his parents, and everyone else who knows him too. Chris and Cassie could have been saddened by their son’s diagnosis, but instead, they have chosen to take the lemons that other people might find distasteful, and make some of the best lemonade in the world…the memories they are building with their little boy. I know that the parents of Down’s Syndrome children are always a special breed of people, because there are those who give these children up for adoption or abort them before birth, but as Chris would tell you, “Any man can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a daddy.” And to that I will add, that it takes a real man to be a daddy, when the going gets tough…no matter the reason.
No matter who we are, life hands us situations that we have to either deal with or run from, and it is my opinion that the strongest people deal with those new things with grace, giving it their all. Strong people don’t give up, whine and cry, or run from their problems, but rather, they take what they have been handed and turn it into something very special. This is what I see in the parents of Down Syndrome children, and this is what I see in Chris and Cassie. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
A client was in my office yesterday with his little granddaughter. When he gave her a kiss, his whiskers rubbed on her cheek, causing her to make a face. When he told us why she had made the face, it took me back about four to five decades. Back to when I was a kid, and my dad used to play with my sisters and me by giving us whisker rubs. It was something Dad did when he was in a playful mood. He would come home from work, and we would gather around to greet him. Dad always loved to tease, and see if he could put a smile on our faces after his long day at work.
Dad’s 5 o’clock shadow would always scratch us when he would kiss us hello, and I suppose that was how it got started. Just like my clients little granddaughter, making a face at the scratchiness of her grandpa’s face, we probably made the same face. My guess would be that he thought our little face was so funny that he did it again to see that funny little face that looks a bit like a kid who just ate lemons. After a while, it became kind of like the “tickle torture” we had used on our sister, Caryl…a “weapon” used without warning to get a rise out of us.
I suppose people might wonder why such an act would be continued after the first time. Well, the answer would lie in the fact that after Dad would finish giving us the whisker rub, we would invariably say, “Do that again, Daddy!!” It was always a fun little goofy thing we had with Dad, and as we grew older, and had children of our own, they too, were introduced to the whisker rub. No one was exempt, nor did they want to be, because to be exempt, would have been to be left out of the fun.
My dad was a great dad and a great kidder. He brought fun and laughter to our home, and made each of his girls feel like princesses. We were so blessed. Family was the most important thing to him. He had so much love to give, and such a good heart. He was always doing fun little things to bring a smile to our faces and sunshine to the day. I miss those days…especially when I see a dad or grandpa playing with their little one or even accidentally doing something similar to the playful things my dad did…like the whisker rub!!!