Monday, September 5, 2011

Marvy Mom Monday: Kelly Ward Spivey Edition

 Steve, Kelly, Kaetlyn & Grace, not quite ready for her close up! July 2011

I've known Kelly Ward Spivey forever. She is a cousin of mine... though distant and I can't quite chart the exact connection. But I really got to know her because she was FIRST cousin's with my childhood best friend. (Can you say "Small Town"??) Kelly was a couple of years older than us and it was a pretty big privilege to hang out with her, what with her understanding of grown up things like Maxi Pads and mascara. She only spent a year or so of her childhood in Candor because her dad was in the military. (Yes, add to her exotic and awe inspiring bio that she had lived in Japan! Very impressive stuff to me now, let alone my 3rd grade self!)

So, though we weren't in close contact through out every stage of our lives, Kelly was always one of those people who I vaguely knew about: Enough of my people were close to enough of her people that occasional updates would seep in. Thanks to Facebook, that blurred understanding of what we each were up to became a thing of the past and we really got to be connected. And how glad I am that we are!

It's very fitting that this post goes live on Labor Day because Kelly, who had just a couple of years ago given up on the idea of having children because of fertility struggles, just gave birth to her second daughter, Grace, on August 29th. She is at the top of my Marvy Mom list and I was not going to let a little thing like a brand new baby stop me from getting her into YOUR lives. Instead of asking her a series of questions (as I did last week with Chris Samson Telford) my plan was to take what I know about her mothering experience and write about it for her. It only seemed fair.

Lucky for me, Kelly's blog (well, Kaetlyn's Blog, actually!) is prolific and it occurred to me that I didn't need to write anything; Kelly didn't need to write anything... I could just STEAL what she already wrote. So, here's in a excerpt from a post she wrote back in May. It will tell you in a way I couldn't even begin to approach all you need to know about this truly, truly Marvy Mom! 

(Fair warning: go get a Kleenex before you continue.)


So, you might've guessed that Kaetlyn let me (her Mom) have at it on the blog tonight. We had a big day and I felt that, since I've been crafting this post in my head for weeks now, I should finally write it down.  I can't believe a year has passed since our sweet girl FINALLY decided (36 hours into labor) to come into this world.  What a ride the year has been. 
When we found out that Kaety would have Down Syndrome when I was 4 months pregnant, my heart felt the deepest sorrow it had ever known.  I had waited so long for this baby; we knew her, we loved her, but now were faced with such fear, such ache, such sorrow.  The kind of sorrow where you can't even cry hard enough to get it out. The kind of sorrow where your throat constricts, your knees go weak, and there seems there will never be enough to fill that hole in your heart.  Enough.  I worried SO MUCH about Enough.  How could I possibly be what this little girl needed?  How could that sorrow ever turn to joy?  But we, my husband and I, knew how much we already loved her.  We knew she was something special, and we knew that maybe Enough was to give her a chance.

All the reading and studying we did following her diagnosis was, for us, preparation.  We studied books and tried to learn all we could about DS.  And it was scary.  And that sorrow threatened to consume.  I started reading blogs of all the other Mommies out there with babies with a little something extra.  We found our local ARC and DS Community and realized how HOPEFUL these people were.  I recently realized that at that time, I don't even remember that part of my pregnancy because we focused so much on the DS, not on the fact we were going to have a baby...until one day, two months after we found out...  We had read ENOUGH.  You can never prepare yourself for the unknown; you can never know what you will walk into...and sometimes it turns out to be the biggest blessing you will ever know. 

I have found that the Moms I've "met" in the blogging community have helped me more than anything I read in a book...getting to know them and their kids has meant the world to us.  It's not by accident that this community is what led us to focus not on the DS, but back on our pregnancy.  Through the blogging community, we stumbled upon a poem that meant more to us than anything we had read and through that, we started focusing on having a baby.  A BABY!  That poem was "Three Angels"...  I want to share it here because it helped me so much, because it truly describes how we feel about Kaetlyn...


Once upon a time, three angels were busily working in the miracle factory.  They were responsible for wrapping up all the little miracles and sending them on their way.  Normally they wrapped each one in bright, sturdy paper with big, shiny ribbons.  They stamped it with a delivery date and away it would go to the parents who eagerly awaited its arrival.  Things usually ran pretty smoothly.  One day, however, down the conveyor belt came a little miracle that made the angels pause.

"Oh my," said the first angel.  "This one's uhm...well...different."

"Yes, she is unique."  said the second angel.

"Well I think she is quite special," said the first angel, "but I don't think she will quite fit our standard wrapping procedures."

And the second angel added, "And we know she's special, but will everyone else?"

"Not a problem," said the third angel.  "Obviously a special miracle deserves extra special wrapping; and of course, we'll send her off with our most heartfelt blessings.  Then everyone will see how special she is."

"What a wonderful idea!" replied the others.

So they searched the shelves high and low for their finest paper, and their most delicate ribbons.  When they were done, they stood back and admired their work.  "Beautiful!" they all agreed.

"Now for our blessings," said the third angel, "for it is time for her to go."

"I will bless her with innocence and happiness," said the first angel.

"And I will bless her with strength to face the many challenges that lie ahead," said the second angel.

"And I will bless her with an inner beauty that will shine on all who look upon her," said the third angel.

Before sending her off, the third angel, who was very wise, gently tucked a note inside.  And it said:

Dear Parents,
Today you have received a very special gift.  It may not be what you were expecting, and you may be disappointed, angry and hurt.  But please know that she comes with many blessings, and, while there may be pain, she will bring you much joy.  She will take you on a very difficult journey, but you will meet many wonderful people.  She will teach you patience and understanding and make you reach deep inside yourselves to find a source of strength and faith you never knew you had.  She will enrich your lives, and will touch the hearts of all who meet her.  She may be fragile, but she has great inner strength.  So pleases handle her with care, give her lots of attention, shower her with hugs and kisses, love her with all your heart and she will blossom before your eyes.  Her spirit will shine like the brightest star for all to see, and you will know that you are truly blessed.

Our Special Gift - 12 hours old...
So, fast forward a year.  Here we are.  Our Kaety-girl is ONE YEAR OLD. 

I am truly blessed.  Enough?  Is the joy of her Enough? Our Kaety is SO SO MUCH MORE than I could ever have imagined.  Every day I look into those crystal blue eyes with their brushfield spots, I see laughter, dancing, mischief, love.  Oh yes, LOVE.  MORE than I could ever have hoped.  She is the most amazing thing to ever happen in my life.  That original sorrow and fear?  I wish I could tell myself of a year and a half ago not to worry so much!  Are they still there sometimes when I worry about her future, or wonder how she will be with her soon-to-arrive little sister?   Yes, they're fact I still worry about her future life every day.  What will happen as she gets older and the gap between her peers widens? (I am sure I will not be very nice the first time someone is not nice to her!) Will she be independent?  Will she go to college?  What will her adult life be like? But the reality is that every parent feels fears and worries about the future with any child.  The reality for my husband and I is to take things day by day, to deal with the now, to experience all that having her in our lives can give us. 

On this, her first birthday, I can't believe how LUCKY we were that those three angels picked us, that Kaety's little soul looked down and said, "I want that family," that she chose us, and that we were given the opportunity to know her...

To you out there, thanks for sharing in each week of her first year, for helping us through, for being with us...  We'll continue to update and write about Kaety's goings on, of course (this girl is unstoppable!).  It just seems like SUCH a huge milestone, though I know there will be many, many more.  But...ONE YEAR.  Wow.

 To add icing to the already beautifully written cake, Kelly posted this just a few days ago. MAN, she is a MARVY MOM!
September 3, 2011 - Five years ago, I thought I would never be married or have children. Today, I have two beautiful, precious souls entrusted to me to be their mother, two amazingly fantastic step-kids, and I am the proud wife of my best friend. I am so blessed. God is good.
 Baby Grace, still with that New Baby Smell!
Can you stand it? Please, please do yourself a favor and follow Kelly, Kaetlyn, Grace and their whole amazing family on her blog.
Well YEAH I had to post the picture of me and Kaetlyn! She liked me best.


  1. I was going to suggest you feature Kelly! Well done.

  2. Thank you for giving me such inspirational reading each and every time I get to this blog!!! I don't care whether it's your workouts, your daily routines or this incredible edition of "Marvy Mom Monday," you, my friend, have my heart! Thank you for introducing me to women that humble me, encourage me and inspire me!
    I was watching you at the wedding and telling Mike~ I think that pretty little girl is keeping those sisters occupied so they behave!!! Love the photo!!!

  3. :). I have to say Phoebe...YOU are a MARVY, MARVY Mom!!!! Love that picture of you and Kaety!!! Xoxo