Some friends of ours recently had a baby with Downs Syndrome. No, they didn't know before he was born that he had Downs. The doctors expect him to be in the hospital for at least a couple of weeks before they can bring him home. Having recently gone through having to leave a baby in the hospital, I asked Russ what he thought would be the best thing to do to try to help their family. He immediately said watching the other kids. He found that to be the most helpful; to have someone watch the older children so that we could be at the hospital with Dylan together. I kind of chuckled at his response because I could easily see the differences between our first impulse answers. My answer was that I thought that having people bring us dinner was really helpful because with so much to worry about with a baby in the hospital, it was nice to not have to worry about dinner, too. I later thought more and decided it was nice when a neighbor stopped by and asked if she could take some laundry to wash for us to help us out. Thinking that laundry is easy enough to do, I really didn't let her do much laundry. I did let her take one load though. I probably should have let her take more. Anyway, I just thought it was funny that Russ thought of being able to visit Dylan together (which was nice, really. Honestly, there isn't a lot you can do while at the hospital with a newborn baby that for several days, at least, you can't even hold, so having someone else there with you is nice), where my thought was of the needs of everyone else. Which does make sense. I stay home and take care of the kids and most nights make dinner, so it should be something I would think of. (Okay, starting to ramble...)
I have also been thinking of how much I learned (or re-learned in some cases) by going through this. Especially after hearing the father of the baby say that he's looking forward to the challenges ahead. I learned that people are really quite nice. Even if we didn't take them up on everything, we had several people offer to help in one way or another. We had several people bring us dinner and gifts for the baby. We had several people show their caring and concern just by asking about Dylan. We had the love and support of family and friends (some who have gone through having a baby born with a serious heart defect) and of new friends through the Intermountain Healing Hearts support group. I felt much gratitude for the restoration of the gospel, especially for Priesthood blessings that helped me go from distress to peace and for the blessings of the temple. Because of the temple, I knew that no matter what happened, Dylan would be part of my family eternally.
Not long after Dylan came home, I listened to a talk given by Elder Jeffery R. Holland about how our troubles can help us. I remember his saying that our troubles would be so much harder to bear had the Savior not borne them for us. I know I felt the support of the Savior through this experience and understood a little better how Paul could exclaim (I suddenly can't remember where he says this in the New Testament. Ah, well) that he glories in tribulation. In his book Maybe, Maybe Not, Robert Fulghum wrote that he has a dummy in his head and that his dummy is smarter than he is. He went on to explain that there would be this little voice in his mind that would tell him that things he thought would be good to do really wouldn't be good to do. I may call it something other than my dummy, but I understood what he was talking about. You might be wondering why I am bringing this up now. Be patient, I'm getting there. It wasn't long after listening to the talk by Elder Holland that I was thinking about how I knew the Savior had supported me through my trials. I thought of the scripture in Isaiah that says, "Surely the Lord has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows." I thought of how He had surely done that for me and knew my worries and pains. As I was thinking this, that little "dummy" as Robert Fulghum called it, spoke up and said to me, "You know, He carried Dylan's too." Those few words helped me to be even more grateful for the Atonement of the Savior.
Considering all of the things I have learned, I really don't know that I would change anything were I given the choice. Makes me want to echo our friend in saying that I look forward to the challenges ahead. Think of how much more I will learn (and hopefully grow) from them.
(There, Russ. Happy now? I wrote another post. ;) )