Friday, October 25, 2013

Guest Post: Parenting II

**Guest Post from my Cousin Kelly.  She was one of the first, as was Dana, to write a post for me to share. It is certainly wonderful to hear how people think we are doing as parents, but so humbling as well.  And well...hard to post "a pat on the back", which is why I've save them I guess.  But it's time to share:)
{Kelly is 3rd from the left in the back - I'm on far right in back with Emelia
and Aubrey is sitting 2nd from left in the red chairs}
"Since I have been given the opportunity, I am going to write about Aubrey’s parents – since I know that this would be something that Rachel may not have an easy time writing herself.

A brief introduction, I am one of Rachel’s cousins from Wisconsin.  Because of the distance, I don’t see the day to day operation of the Smith household.  There are many times I wish I could – sometimes I would like to be a visitor, other times I think it would truly be fascinating to be a “fly on the wall”. 

From the moment that there was an inclination that Aubrey may be born with a heart defect and Down syndrome, Rachel and Woody turned to their ultimate source of strength – their faith.  Like the rest of Rachel and Woody’s family, I prayed and waited.  When Aubrey was born we continued to support the family in prayer and love as we received pictures of the tiniest of babies hooked up to a room full of machines and monitors. 

As Aubrey has grown up there have been many unknowns, however, her family has always been a source of stability. We have heard stories of doctor appointments, various different types of therapy appointments, specialists, hospitalizations, etc.  But more importantly we have heard about the reaching of milestones, the laughter Aubrey brings, and the amazing gift of being able to see the world through Aubrey’s eyes (my personal favorite).  The focus has always been on what Aubrey CAN do, not what she can’t do (yet!) .  

As parents, Rachel and Woody skillfully create life lessons out of not only life changing events, but also daily situations.  I can’t help but think of all of the incredible lessons the girls are learning now that they will grow up and use when they themselves are parents.
{Aubrey with her Great Grandma Alice Olson and cousins}
We know Aubrey as a determined girl, but when looking at her family, this is not a surprise.  She has grown up in a family of amazing strength.  Rachel and Woody encourage Aubrey’s four sisters, each with their own special qualities and talents, to share these gifts with Aubrey each day.  Aubrey is blessed to learn from Alice’s grace, Kate’s intellect, Ella’s silliness, and she gets to learn to be a big sister to Emmie – which is quite special.  Rachel and Woody have done an amazing job of providing each of the girls with the unique tools they need to have a positive future.  They are a family with a commitment to values, faith and family tradition.

I am so proud of how graciously Rachel and Woody have raised their family.  They are a compassionate, loving, giving family that demonstrates to each of us the strength they have within themselves to face all that life will present to them. 

You have shown so many that while Aubrey may have Down syndrome, she is clearly just like each one of us.   

Love you all!

**Pictures were taken last Christmas.  The Olson (Rachel's side) gathers every year between Christmas and New Years.  All told there were 30 of us for 3 days in 1 house!  Thank you to my Aunt and Uncle for hosting us each year and to this half of our family that provides so many prayers and love and support and for being part of our "village".

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