Saturday, May 30, 2009

May 30th

I always get a bittersweet feeling when May 30th comes around. On May 30th, 1990, our youngest daughter was born and it was the day that our lives changed forever.

At 5:57pm on that day 19 years ago (she will refuse any "Happy Birthdays" until this moment has come) our Tessa came into the world. It was immediately apparent that something was severly wrong with her... for one thing she was an alarming shade of blue and her legs, which should have been wound up tight like clocksprings, were lying flat and lifeless.

While the team of doctors & nurses worked to resuscitate her I begged God to deal with this for me. "I can not do this" I said. The change that came over me was immediate and, to tell you the truth, a little bizarre. When someone tells me that they had an 'out of body' experience I believe them, because it happened to me. After that it was like I was watching what was happening from the corner of the room. The peace that overcame me was overpowering......"You can do this," It said.

The next three weeks were insanely busy and overnight we became experts on Spina Bifida. We learned words like meningomyocele, hydrocephalus and scoliosis. We learned how to scrub up like surgeons and function on no sleep. I overcame my fear of driving to Vancouver, learned how to sleep in a chair & memorized every nurses name in the SCN (Special Care Nursery). We spent countless hours on the phone talking to friends, family and surgeons who needed consent.

Now all these things have faded into one fuzzy memory and for that I am so glad.

But there are things I never want to forget.

  • The dinners brought to us every day - so many that I didn't have to cook for nearly 2 months! (you know how I'd love that now!)

  • The gifts - Tessa had so many new dresses that she didn't wear them all in one year.

  • The help - it was incredible how our family and friends and our church came alongside us.

  • The power of prayer - it is overwhelming. God's peace is without measure. How does anyone go through something like this without God's divine intervention? I don't know but I never want to forget what it was like to experience it in such a powerful way.

Today Tessa is a wonderful, healthy 19 year old. I'd like to say that it as been wonderful and miraculous and that it's now all in the past but that would be a fairytale. What I can tell you is that the joy she has brought into our lives is immeasureable. She makes us laugh (she has her dad's sarcastic sense of humour) every day and she never complains about her situation. She absorbs every great moment she experiences and hangs on to the memory forever.

On her birthday this year she turned to us and said "I love my life!"

This is the girl that God gave to us that day.

Tess on her 19th birthday with Canadian Idol Greg Neufeld
(he just happens to be her 2nd cousin too!)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Last Monday Simon Cowell was on Oprah. The theme of the show that day was talent shows... a growing, worldwide phenomenom that is showing no signs of slowing down. I watched with some interest...zzzzzz... then they mentioned how this craze has hit Afghanistan. OK... now you have my attention.

"Afghan Star" has taken that country by storm and turned it on it's side. Thirteen years ago the Taliban outlawed music. You could be put in prison just for singing. Now this television show has given a platform for that supressed talent, including women, that has had to keep silent for far too long.

When Oprah asked Simon about these shows and the effects they've brought to their home countries he said, "The great thing about it is it's democracy. They've brought a certain kind of democracy to places like China & Afghanistan."

Millions are watching ‘Afghan Star’ and voting for their favorite singers. If they don't have power they use generators to run their televisions so they don't miss an episode. For many this is their first encounter with democracy and they are revelling in it... their right to vote.... even if it's just for who is their favourite pop singer.


The next day was our Provincial Election. I took a few minutes to pop down to my local polling station, considering this, I am sorry to admit, somewhat of a nuisance. The room was virtually empty except for the volunteers. I quickly cast my vote (I had lots on my to-do list that day) and popped the ballot into the box. The older gentleman at the table gave me a smile and said "Thanks for voting" and for a split second my eyes filled with tears. How blissfully unaware I have been of a world that is starving for any type of democratic freedom and how much I take for granted my right to vote.