Hi, I’m Kendall! I’m a florist, credentialed teacher, and I love getting creative, gabbing with friends, and curling up on the couch to watch a juicy show. These days I spend most (if not all) of my time mothering two spirited little boys: Cole (3) and Caleb (6-months). These two have my heart but the love of my life is my husband Jeff—my partner in this messy, challenging, fantastic circus we call life. Our son, Cole, has Down Syndrome and this makes him extraordinary. It also makes our family’s story a bit unique. I’m honored to share it with you!

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One in 1,000. Those were our odds. I was 26 years old, healthy, and absolutely positive my firstborn would be one of the 999 typical babies. In my mind, there was no way that I would be that one woman out of 1,000 others to have a special baby. I was wrong.

Cole was born with Trisomy 21—otherwise known as Down Syndrome.

I was exactly halfway through my first pregnancy when Cole’s diagnosis crushed me like a ton of bricks. I’ll never be able to adequately describe the devastation that followed the doctor’s call. At that time, the world of special needs was foreign to me and extremely scary.

So I grieved for the child I had hoped for and the life I thought that child was going to have.

The child I had planned for, the life I was comfortable with—that’s what I thought I could handle. How could I—with all my flaws, lack of patience, and insecurities— be the right mom for this baby? Doubts and fears flooded my days and haunted the remainder of my pregnancy.

A few months later, Cole was born. It was a sunny January afternoon and it was a day that changed me forever. The baby I feared so much arrived perfectly made and he was all mine. Jeff—my husband and hero—and I held our precious child and rejoiced. Our hearts were miraculously changed and we have never looked back on those agonizing months before we met Cole face to face.

Cole is not the child I had hoped for, he is better!

Kendall_1He has the best sense of humor, makes the same faces as his daddy, is stubborn like his mommy and he joyfully loves everyone he meets. My fears were unfounded as Cole is very smart, has tons of friends, and is beloved and treasured by everyone in his life.

I’m still that flawed woman but Cole inspires me to be better, offer more compassion, love deeper, and find joy and gratitude in everything. He’s given me such purpose and insight and introduced me to a world of people with more courage and determination than any I have met before.

There are still challenges and I still wish that Cole’s life could be easier, the world kinder, his developmental path smoother. But the joy, depth of character, and sense of purpose that Cole has given me makes any hardship we may experience worth it.

My journey through motherhood has been unique and, I’ll admit, extremely bumpy. But each day I thank God that he chose us to raise Cole, I’m so grateful I was that 1 in 1,000!