Saturday, December 3, 2016

Celebrating Daddy

Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday, dear Daddy, Happy Birthday to you!

Yes, today we celebrate Shawn's birthday--my wonderful husband and the loving father of my children. Thus begins our marathon month of celebration, continuing with our church Christmas party next weekend, our 11 year wedding anniversary on the 18th, and of course the glorious celebration of the birth of our Savior on Christmas Day! In Shawn's honor, this blog post is dedicated to celebrating the truly remarkable man I am privileged to be married to.

During my teenage years I began praying for my future husband and daydreaming about the type of man he may be. One of the most important issues for my heart was the kind of father he would be for our children. I desired that my kids would have a daddy who was present both physically and emotionally, a daddy who showered them with affection and affirmation, a daddy who could delight them with play and discipline them with love, a daddy in whose love they could feel secure, a daddy who would model to them the heart of their loving Heavenly Father. It is with a heart overflowing with gratitude that I can say with confidence that God answered my prayers!

Beginning the moment Shawn pulled me into a delighted embrace when we had our first positive pregnancy test until now as we daily enjoy the beautiful chaos that comes with raising three small children, he has been a loving and intentional father. He adores each of our children for exactly who they are, and in return they adore him. Daddy's homecoming at the end of the day is always a cause for much rejoicing as he is greeted with squeals and smothered with hugs and kisses! It means the world to me to see my sons and daughter so secure and free in Daddy's love.

Our journey into parenthood had a lot of twists and turns and difficulties that we never could have imagined. After a few years of trying to conceive, we could not have expected that our newborn would be fighting for his life in a NICU crib, facing open heart surgery as an infant, or arriving with an extra chromosome. Shawn was only 24 years old at the time of Benjamin's birth. The stress that continued to pile up on top of us those first several months was intense. However, he never once wavered in his love and commitment to his wife and his tiny son. It is with heartache that I have heard stories of marriages crumbling and families breaking apart after experiencing the difficulties that can come with raising a child with special needs, especially if that child is medically fragile. It is with a heart continuing to overflow with thanksgiving that I can testify that our marriage has only become stronger through it all! I am so grateful for the grace of God working in and through my husband and me as we have walked out our journey of parenting a child with Down syndrome hand in hand. Benjamin is crazy about his Daddy!

When Benjamin was still in the NICU, we were encouraged by a friend to "celebrate our son every day." Over the last seven and half years I have watched Shawn live this out with Benjamin and now with Joelle and Josiah as well. They know how much he values them. On good days and bad days he pours into his children. Surrounded with Daddy's love, our little ones naturally celebrate him in response. Our family is so very blessed!

Happy Birthday, Shawn! It is so easy to celebrate sharing life with you!

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