Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!!!

We had a CRABBY New Year's Eve.....Literally!



December 31st is also Nolan's birthday! His choice for his birthday dinner was crab legs! I've decided he's an expensive child and not the typical 8 year old! We had lots of fun though! It was nice starting the new year off with our whole family home TOGETHER, including Grandma Doty! Last year we were separated with Gavin in the hospital. We were thankful to be home and healthy!
Gavin has been making a little more progress as well! He's 'talking' to us even more and he seems to have more strength! He's attempting to sit up while being held on my lap. This is a very small step, but a good one! His head and neck strength are still very poor, but at least he's trying!
I recently read a quote from a devotional book for caregivers that was given to us. "Joy in caregiving, like fine jewelry, usually comes in a small box." I felt this really sums up joys found when having to care for someone who is chronically ill. It is A LOT of work and some days it's hard to want to even get up in the morning, thinking about all the day entails, but when the joy comes it's abounding! I think many of you might agree with me that being a parent is often a thankless, yet very rewarding job! When you care for a child who has special needs, often it's even more thankless, but when those rewards come...WOW! With our other boys it's a lot of work, but they say something funny, or give us a smile, an "I love you", or a hug. This makes the 'work' all 'worth' it! With Gavin, somedays it just feels like 'work'. He can't smile. He can't talk. He can't do what the average 1 year old does. So, sometimes it feels like the joy isn't there. But, like getting a "small box with fine jewelry", when you do get it, it's WONDERFUL! The small box usually holds something very precious and unforgettable! We don't get those small boxes very often, but when we do get them it means so much more to us! This is how it is for me with Gavin. He requires a lot, but when he 'gives' it surely isn't taken for granted! We may have had to wait a LONG time for things, but we sure do rejoice when they happen! He may not be able to smile and make us laugh, but he has his own way of showing affection towards us. Often times throughout each day while I am holding him on my lap with him facing out he wiggles and 'complains' and digs his feet into my legs trying to get his face closer to mine. Then he arches his back and leans his head back until our faces are touching...and he settles right down...then he licks my face! I take this as his way of saying, "I love you and Thank you"! It really touches my heart and brings that joy that I'm talking about! I only hope he knows how much we Love him and are Thankful for him too!
May all of you find the little joys in life during this new year! Our prayer is that you will see God's blessing in all that this year brings to you and that you have a blessed 2008! Thanks for your continued prayers and support!
Love, Alicia and Family
P.S. There are some new pictures on Gavin's carepage as well!

3 comments:

Annette Selden said...

Happy new year Vander Walls! Thanks for the beautiful pictures. It's so good to hear that Gavin is making progress. He's a special boy, and God has given him to special parents to care for and love him. And I'm sure that Gavin knows how much he is loved. I can't wait to read your January 1, 2009 post to see how much more progress Gavin makes. Katie was just looking at the pictures, and she commented, "Look how far he's come since last year. Who knows what Gavin can do!" We're excited to watch and see.

Love,
Annette, Katie, and Jonathan Selden

mommy to 2 bugs said...

Alicia, the pictures are wonderful!!!
Happy (belated) birthday to you Nolan!! sounds like you brought the new year in right!!
I pray that 2008 will bring abounding joy to Gavin and to all of you!
Love yoU!
nicole

Inspired said...

Happy New Year! The VanderWalls celebrated the same way we did with crab legs. Nolan has great taste : )
The new pictures are beautiful!! I'm glad you had a peaceful Christmas and New Year. You deserved it. It is SO wonderful to hear that Gavin is doing better and is more active!! That is such a blessing. I know it lifts your heart to see him improve. Small gifts are often the best.
Sending lots of love your way!!
xoxox-
Julie