Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Kellen's Gift

by Jodi Reimer.

“I knew when I saw your son, that he was an angel” said the tearful woman at church today.

Angel? I blinked and the morning flashed through my mind.

Kellen was taking a long time to eat his bagel and cream cheese. It was time to leave for church, but he wasn’t quite finished. The morning was not sitting well with him because he doesn’t like to be rushed. My husband, daughter, and I went out to the car to wait for him. Soon enough he appeared and begrudgingly got into the car.

During the short drive, while the rest of us were chatting, Kellen began practicing his four letter words. This is not exactly what we like to hear on the way to church. When we arrived, with our difficult morning in mind, we elected to sit in the second to last row. I thought that maybe Kellen would be less of a disturbance if he decided not to use his “quiet voice” in the back. Another reason would become apparent soon enough.

Sure enough, he was a little loud several times, and we gently reminded him to be quiet or put our finger to our lips. After the service as we prepared to leave, an older white-haired woman who had been sitting in the row in front of us, turned to talk to my husband. I had never seen her before, so I assumed that she might have talked with him earlier as he and Kellen are greeters at the beginning of the service. He started to talk with her while we put our coats on and picked up our belongings.

He turned to include me in the conversation and the woman introduced herself as a visitor from South Africa. She and her grown son requested some time to talk with us. It was more than a little awkward, as Kellen did not want to change his plans. He likes predictably and knows that after the service, we go out to the car. He was protesting about having to stop and wait. The woman did not want to talk in front of Kellen, but she did want to talk immediately. I asked my daughter if she would take Kellen out to the car, but he refused to leave without us. So, we did the best we could to talk with the woman and her son.

It was obvious that she was in pain. Her daughter who also lives in South Africa had just received some disturbing news about her pregnancy. It was unclear to me if the diagnosis was Down syndrome, but the doctors were saying that the baby’s brain was showing an excess of fluid. The doctors were urging her to terminate her pregnancy.

The grandmother was visiting her son in our town and had come to our church that morning asking God to show her a sign. During the service, something made her turn around and she locked eyes with my son.
My son was her Sign. Today my son was her angel sent from God to give her a message, a message that her granddaughter deserved to live, inspiration that they could be a happy family. That everything would be all right.

We gave her our address, email, and offered her a book to take back to Africa with her. Gifts is a collection of stories written by a diverse group of parents who have children with Down syndrome. We talked with the woman and her son about the gift our son is to our family. We explained that all children are a gift from God and who are we to say that his gifts are not good enough for us?

I left the church with tears in my eyes.

Today Kellen made a difference.

You can read more about Jodi, Kellen, and their family here.


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful first post Jodi.

jennifer said...

Beautiful, Jodi...you know what a fan of Kellen I am!

Queen K said...

Thank you, Jodi, this is lovely!

nancyiannone said...

Thank you - so much difference even a little exposure makes!