Saturday, October 18, 2008

Through Rose Colored Glasses (by Caitlin - Zoey's other Big Sister)


My mother is as blind as a bat. She literally could not function without her contacts or her glasses on. I've seen some pictures of her in her childhood, and let me tell you, she wore some nice thick glasses. My dad, pretty much the same thing. He has recently bought a pair of reading glasses (from what I understand, this is some type of rite of passage in middle to late adulthood). Jessica has worn glasses since 5th grade I believe, and she too cannot see a thing without glasses or contacts. Taylor, perfect vision. Jake and Joe, we have yet to find out.
Then there's me.
I have 20/20 vision. Nothing medically wrong with my sight. But as of the last year and a half, I have begun "wearing" a type of glasses. I guess you could say that they are rose colored glasses. And guess who picked out these extraordinary glasses especially for me? ...you guessed it, The Princess herself, Zoey.
Typically, the phrase "through rose colored glasses" is something that carries a negative connotation: ignorance, someone not in touch with reality, feigned optimism, perhaps even foolishness. But is this really so? Or is looking through glasses tinted with a twinge of pink actually a gift of sorts?
I would support the latter.

Since the birth of my littlest sister, things have been on an upswing for me. Zoey came into our life, and my life particularly, at a time of grayness, and by gray I mean that I was going through the motions of life, skating by, taking all for granted. Then, in a quite rude awakening, I was faced with the stark contrast of all that is worthwhile and meaningful and all that is void and purposeless.
Underneath a tangle of tubes and wires, a ferocious spirit battled without even making the conscious choice to do so. This small warrior was giving me a run for my money in the courage zone; I found it so much easier to remain apathetic in so many areas of my life, rushing around, trying to do what was best for only myself. But everything changed that day. It was as if she came into the world and wordlessly told me, "Slow down. Stop and look around for a minute."
So I did.
I had a hard time seeing. Everything was blurry, and most of all, everything was gray. There was no black and white. In a short amount of time, I realized that I might need some corrective lenses...and that's when Zoey handed me a pair of rose colored frames.
My new glasses felt a little funny. I'd never really worn them before and wasn't even sure they fit correctly, but I gave them a shot. Everything seemed a little brighter, a little more vibrant, but I still wasn't sure. Was I really cut out to wear glasses? I thought I was seeing things just fine before.
After a bit, everything took on color, even Zoey after her heart surgery. The senseless seemed more manageable and faith overtook doubt. Gray did not intrude on living, instead, joy shined through whenever I wore my glasses. Sure, there were times I chose to take them off. There were times I threw them across the room, there were even times I contemplated stepping on them. But each time, Zoey kept going, so I did too.

But how did such a little baby know about these glasses? How did she know to give them to me. The amazing thing is, Zoey has a pair of rose colored glasses herself.

She was born wearing them.

The blueprints for her glasses were located on her third 21st chromosome, and they genetically formed right into her very being. Within her genetic makeup, she contains the secret to living a beautiful life: optimism, perseverance, and joy. She does not choose these traits, they are in every cell in her body. She exudes beauty and faithfulness because this is her nature. Zoey's rose colored glasses are not a mark of her ignorance or her foolishness, they are a symbol of her ability to strive in an unfair world. And she didn't have to buy these glasses, shop around for them, or try them on for size, they just came perfectly tailor made for her.

I figured, 'If she can wear these all the time, so can I." So I do. Or at least I try. Some might say they look silly or are impractical, but they are working out perfectly for me. And ultimately, I don't have a choice whether or not I wear them. I owe it to Zoey Grace to never take them off.

Zoey did not choose Down syndrome for herself, nor did she choose any of the battles that she has encountered in her existence. This is beyond human control. I wish I could take on some of her suffering, but unfortunately, unfairly, I cannot.
What I can do is to everyday choose optimism. I can choose my attitude. I can choose to pray. I can rejoice in the peace of Christ and in the unimaginable promise that both my life and Zoey's life hold. I can choose to embrace this emphemeral life for all it's worth.

And from my point of view, life is looking pretty rosy these days.

22 comments:

jess said...

remember when your 5th grade teachers told you to be a writer? you should reconsider that. this was really good :) and so true.

Pam said...

Wow, amazing post....could have warned me I would need tissues!!

((HUGS) to your whole family!!

Reagan Leigh said...

Caitlin,
I'm just so impressed. You girls put my posts to shame. It's great to hear your version of the story and what a beautiful story it is. Thank you...
Tera

Carey said...

Pretty amazing. I love it. I only wish my young teenage sisters could borrow a pair of your glasses!

Christy said...

Caitlin,

Your words are so beautifully written. God has blessed your life with the gift of your precious sister, Zoey.

You are an amazing young woman. Thank you for sharing.

Cheri said...

WHOA!!!!! I had chills reading that post...Caitlin that was absolutely beautiful!!!! What an amazing picture you painted with the following words;

"The blueprints for her glasses were located on her third 21st chromosome, and they genetically formed right into her very being. Within her genetic makeup, she contains the secret to living a beautiful life: optimism, perseverance, and joy. She does not choose these traits, they are in every cell in her body. She exudes beauty and faithfulness because this is her nature."

I am glad you are wearing your glasses and they are working for you. There have been times I have wanted to throw mine across the room too and step on them...but you are right you owe it to Zoey and I to my son Reid to wear them. We are better people for wearing them! :)

Okay... Heather I so want to be at the next "wing ding" to just bask in the beauty of your family!

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! Caitlin and Taylor both of you are amazing writers! I LOVED both of your posts. I need to visit all of you soon! Lisa

Jackson's Blog said...

I really enjoyed reading your beautiful post, Caitlin and Taylor's too. Such an amazing family! You both are wonderful big sister's to Miss Zoey.

Kele said...

WHAT THE?!?!!?! Another one!!! Okay, from now on I am not coming to Z's blog unless I have a box of kleenex!!! You guys are killing me here!
Seriously, you young ladies, Caitlin, Taylor AND Jess, are amazing! Your momma is one proud momma, I have no doubt! And Zoey? Well, she is about the luckiest little girl alive!!
I will wait for permission from momma bear, but I really want to do a post and link to these two posts on my blog...
H?? Can I share the beauty of your daughters on my blog?

Anonymous said...

great stuff Caitlin. All you guys are amazing.
kathleen

kristyc said...

Caitlin-What a beautiful way to tell your story. I am speechless and teary eyed. You have such a special family, one people could certainly learn from.

Anonymous said...

ngkofuAmazing writing Caitlin & Taylor (and Jess too) Your mom and dad must be sooooo proud!

About all of this said...

that was really heart-touching. Reading your post I knew that all you said came truly from your heart. Well done, well done. I know why Zoey chose you as her family.

Christina said...

Aw geesh, I should've remembered the tissues too! I cannot wait to see what amazingly wonderful things transpire in my own "typical" kiddos just because of that one littlest chromosome.

I want to link too if Heather doesn't mind. :)

Anna said...

okay, I have been reading your blog for quite some time. Met you on IS board. This was such a great post. Waiting on the "nod of approval" to start adoption process. I found the cutest little girl- DS and all! Anna

Heather said...

Oh,Anna,I am so excited for you.I wondered if you were still hanging around here!Glad to hear you are and wow,I would love to hear your story and details of your journey and yeah,email me if you want.If not,totally understand and I send you tons of blessings and prayers, as you continue on this incredible path.

Larkinsmom said...

Hmmm.....can I have your girls?? All of them? I have the drugs here already for Zoey. What inspiration. To be able to reach down and pull that up shows your character and parenting.

Everyday I come here to be surprised by the song that jumps into play - and to float in your world for a while. Thanks for the last 2 - Larkin and Zoey are held with such love by their siblings.

Sophie's Story by Elaine said...

Okay...I am once again blown away with such beautiful words from someone so young. You Needham girls are absolutely amazing. Heather...you must be so incredibly proud of them...I think there is a book waiting to be published between all of you.

Melissa M said...

I hadn't seen this before, but it's beautiful! Definitely a post that should be read frequently, and I know I'll be reading it again, when my glasses get lost.

Megan said...

Very articulate. Let's hope I can find my rose colored glasses on those days I misplace them. Usually on top of my head, LOL

connie said...

So beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Hi,that was truly amazing.:) it touched my heart in so many ways.I was just browsing the internet for transient myeloproliferative disorder for my research paper for school and I have stumbled upon your website by accident, which I am glad I did. I am a med student from Southeast Asia, things aren't doing well for me as of now,reading your story brought an encouragement. Thank you so much..