I was thirty years old when I gave birth to my youngest child. Jay was quickly diagnosed with Down syndrome and congenital heart disease. My little bundle of joy was a very sick baby. His immune system just didn’t kick in.
Time after time, year after year, we were given a devastating prognosis for our young son and I often feared the worst, having already lost one child to heart disease. But the good news is that Jay wasn’t listening to the “doom and gloom” reports from doctors and went right on living his life like any other child. Oh sure, we had to make concessions and Jay was not able to do everything other kids did, but he did what he could and enjoyed life to the fullest.
This year, my son, who was never expected to live into adolescence, celebrated his 39th birthday. I call that a miracle! God grants them at times, you know. He also granted some wishes and dreams along the way. One took place on Jay’s 30th birthday.
Of course, we planned a huge party for such a milestone in his life. I puzzled over a gift for this momentous occasion. What would be really special? Finally, I did the obvious—asked Jay what he wanted. The answer surprised me. Along with a new necktie for his 200 plus collection (believe me, he is the best-dressed guy at church), Jay wanted a limo ride to Sonic.
Jay’s favorite thing in the world is a Coke from Sonic. We go every single day to fill that order. No hamburger and fries. No ice cream. Just a medium-size Coke. And on his 30th birthday he wanted a limousine to pick him up and take him to Sonic for that Coke. He got it!
So why am I telling you a story about a young man with Down syndrome and severe, irreparable heart disease who wanted a limo ride to Sonic for his birthday? Because Jay dared to dream during those years that doctors told us he would never live. He made wishes that might seem unusual to some but he didn’t let that bother him. He never let anyone or anything steal his joy or rob him of his zest for life.
Perhaps someone reading this has lost hope and needs to revisit past wishes or dust off some old dreams. In fact, maybe you should dare to dream new dreams. Granted, it’s difficult. I’m right there with you, trying to build a future in this new life called “widowhood.” I can’t describe how difficult it is. Never expected to be single in this world again. But I’m trying to fulfill a promise to my late husband, Carl, who upon diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, requested that everything be done for the glory of God. Everything! And it is definitely taking me out of my comfort zone.
How about you? Are you also in an uncomfortable place? Maybe this single life, whatever the reason, has robbed you of joy and future dreams. Maybe life has gotten so difficult that you don’t even know what a dream looks like today. I love the lyrics to a song in the animated movie, Cinderella. It says, “A dream is a wish your heart makes…”
So, how about it? Ready to make a heart-wish? Be like Jay and wish big. Take Carl’s advice and do all things for God’s glory. Don’t allow anyone to steal your hopes or your dreams. And who knows? We just might see you at Sonic in a limo!
About Louise Tucker Jones
Louise Tucker Jones is a mother, grandmother and (young) great-grandmother. She is a writer/speaker/author/columnist and professed chocoholic. She has written extensively about the unique joy of parenting a child with Down syndrome and the abundant gifts of people with special needs. Her poignant life stories from her monthly column in Outlook Magazine and other publications will touch your heart or tickle your funny bone. Louise was married to Carl, her college sweetheart, for 45 years before he relocated to heaven. She is the founder of Wives With Heavenly Husbands, a support group for widows. Contact Louise at LouiseTJ@cox.net or www.LouiseTuckerJones.com.