Friday, October 31, 2008

In Their Own Words: Kristi's Perspective

My perspective…

I have known Chrystal since we met in the infirmary at college. I was there for a twisted ankle and Chrystal was there because she didn’t want to run. We bonded after our drill instructors forgot about us for the day. We were a funny pair but I always new I could count on Chrystal for anything even if it was just to listen. She spent our plebe year hearing my stories about how I missed my boyfriend, Ben, and of course “the blind leading the blind” (smile). She listened, sympathized, and even helped prepare care packages to send back home. When I married the guy in 2003, she was also there as a bridesmaid. So she has been there for me. I hope the same is true from my end…

How I learned about Malea aka Teep: I received an adorable picture message on my phone. I saw a gorgeous little girl who looked just fine and a lot like her Momma. The next day I got a mass e-mail that just said there were some medical conditions and the family was dealing with those. This freaked me out as she looked healthy and fine in the picture message. So I called and asked if someone could call me to let me know what was up as I was currently checking flights to DC. Dwight left me a message and said everything was ok and they were home. At that point I stopped worrying and figured Chrystal would call when she had settled into motherhood and had gotten some rest.

A few days later Chrystal called. Prior to going into labor Chrystal and I had talked and I had spent part of the conversation complaining to her about my internship at the local zoo that included scooping elephant poop for free. The day Malea had her first real poop Chrystal thought of me and realized we hadn’t talked yet and that I had no idea what she was going through. It’s kinda funny that poop is how she remembered me.

I still remember the moment that she told me Malea has Ds. I remember just stopping. A long pause on the phone passed between us as I tried to form a thought. I don’t know what I said but I do remember crying. I cried not so much for the condition but for what all this would mean to the three of them and everything I couldn’t protect them from. At some point after the reality settled in it occurred to me how this moment would define Chrystal and I wanted her to know how successful she would be. A few days later I sent Chrystal a card and I hope it was thoughtful and not ignorant.

I was also taking a course in cell biology and each of us had to do a report with power point presentation regarding a genetic condition. I choose Ds and learning more helped me adjust, educate my view, and I also got to include Malea’s birth announcement. I hope I did a good job on the paper and I did receive some comments from classmates who learned from the paper. I believe I have grown because now Ds has touched me on a personal level. Since then I have learned a ton from Chrystal and from Malea. It was fun to get to meet her in August ‘07 as a very itty bitty baby and to see her now in October ’08 at 16 months. She has more of her mother’s personality and you can see her own emerging. It is cool to see.

What do I think about Ds? I don’t really know. I look at her and all I see are possibilities and the future, nothing more. I guess my point is it just “is.” I know none of this will be easy but hopefully with a large enough circle she will have plenty of allies to help her through the tough real world. As far as I am concerned she will receive all the chances and opportunities possible (period).

Here are a few pics from her KS visit. Yipee!