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Tiffany's story

I’m irritated, my blood pressure is rising.  Where is my fifteen year old son who should have been home seven minutes ago?  A squeal of sheer delight erupts from Angelika and a smile wider than the Nile spreads across her face as she spots him jogging up the drive.  He bounds through the door, scooping her up and smothering her with kisses, breathlessly apologizing for running late.  My anger melts, replaced by a sudden and strong surge of love at this teenager’s open adoration of his little sister.

I’m frustrated, it’s getting late.  How many times must I call for the girls to come eat their bedtime snack? I storm down the hall to their bedroom, and the rush of words die on my lips.  “We’re almost done, Mom!” smiles my eight year old.  She is holding up the easel so that it’s in Angelika’s reach while my ten year old helps her paint the finishing touches on a wonderfully lopsided flower.  A smile erases my frown, and the bond blooming between the girls is worth so much more than the ice cream melting on the kitchen table.

I’m panicked, spurred into action by the frantic screams coming from my toddler.  I fly across the house to the play room, and skid to a stop in the doorway.  My fear turns to humor, and I cannot suppress the giggle that rises up and bubbles from my mouth.  There lies my little boy, once happily sprawled on the floor driving matchbox cars around, legs now pinned by Angelika who has rolled across the room to come “play” with him.  He is not hurt, just mad at being stuck.  Pride wells up, strong and fierce, at her sheer determination to move her uncooperative body to get where she wants to be.

I’m frazzled, racing to button coats and tie shoes in a desperate attempt to get out to the school bus on time.  It’s pouring rain again, and freezing cold.  Amidst a valiant attempt to keep Angelika covered from the elements, I help the driver deploy the lift, load her wheelchair, and get her buckled onto the bus.  As I turn to dash back into the house, I hear a soft, “Mama.”  I glance up at Angelika, and she silently waves good-bye, then blows me a kiss.  I no longer feel the rain or the cold, only the hot sting of tears that spring to my eyes and the warmth of love that fills my heart.

Angelika Grace, meaning “angel blessing.”  A name chosen by our children, long before we could really grasp how perfectly she would fulfill her name sake.  Angelika is our sixth child, proclaimed terminal in utero, who would defy all odds and gift us with a life we could have never imagined.  Her medical condition is fragile and her disabilities are severe.  Though there are times I am overwhelmed and exhausted at juggling her intense life while trying to maintain a “normal” household with the other children, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  She truly is an angel and a blessing, daily reminding me what life is really all about – faith and love.