Many moons ago, almost seventeen years now, a bouncing little baby arrived into the world, joined our family. We didn’t know pink or blue, but delighted to discover a baby boy in the delivery room.
Can’t Buy This by allie taylor
Fast forward several years. “We” are expecting again. (Nuthin’ “we” about it, folks.) My nervous thought: what if it’s a girl and all the baby clothes and nursery are blue? (Horrors! Ha.) Maybe we should find out pink or blue this time around. So we do. Ultrasound definitively says boy. OK. Twinge of “pink would be nice” thoughts, but yay!
What a blessing – two boys to grow up together, sweet. Very sweet. Blessed and thankful.
Five years later. Another baby on the way. Really needing to find out pink or blue at this point! We’re tripping over baseballs, basketballs, soccer balls. And blue, a recurring theme at every turn. Ultrasound tech says snips, snails and puppy dog tails. Very blue. OK, wow. So three boys. Exhale. I am to be the mother of three boys. So I’m way outnumbered here, but ok. I’ve grown quite attached to little boys and certainly three boys will be a grand adventure. It’s December now, and our Christmas tree, nothing but a sea of trains, planes and sports balls. The time has come to start representing myself. Five months pregnant with my third boy, I buy a pink, blown glass Christmas ornament on clearance at Target. It’s not even pretty. But it’s pink.
Four year later, once again, “we” are expecting. Our fourth. People hint, perhaps we don’t know where babies come from? We smile. “So, you think it’s a girl?” they hopefully suggest. Lots of speculation early on. I talk like I don’t know, but in my heart of hearts I know it’s my girl. I’m finally gonna get that sweet little girl to dress up, take shopping, go to lunch. Someday we’ll cook together, paint nails, maybe a long weekend away, do girlie stuff.
We go in for the ultra-sound. The ultrasound tech, she smiles. Cheery, with congratulatory gusto, she announces:
I swallow hard, lump in my throat. Weakly smile, brush away the tiny tear that leaks out. How I wanted that girl. But God said no, you shall be mama to four boys. Others console my fourth boy news with “doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or girl, as long as it’s healthy.” I smile, like it’s ok. And I slowly come to terms with being the mother of four boys.
I adjust my gratitude attitude, because I know I’m so blessed to be the mother of four precious children. Yes, four boys will be absolutely wonderful, an incredible gift. I imagine four boys playing games, wrestling, watching football together, hiking…having each other for life. What a wonderful future lies ahead for four brothers who have one another.
That fourth baby boy arrives. But he’s not bouncing. He’s in distress, comes by emergency c-section. He’s headed to the NICU. He’s got breathing issues, can’t make red blood cells. He’s jaundiced, low muscle tone, feeding tube, can’t nurse. The doctor says something’s different, something’s very wrong.
Says the doctor: “Can I see pictures of your other children? Might be something genetic.”
I look down, drink in the perfect profile of my precious little baby boy, a clone of my other beautiful newborns.
I don’t think for a second.
“Does the baby have Down syndrome?”
“Yes, I think so,” says the doctor. “We’ll need to do genetic testing to know for sure.”
My world stops spinning on a dime, starts spiraling. In that millisecond, my dreams of four brothers magically experiencing life together crash and burn.
“Doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or girl, as long as it’s healthy.”
“Doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or girl, as long as it’s healthy.”
The words echo in my ears, a growing cacophony.
“As long as it’s healthy.”
He’s my precious little baby boy. Hudson Fall Taylor. My beautiful baby, bundled in my arms. But he’s not healthy. He’s not healthy at all. He’s very sick. He needs emergency red blood cell transfusions through a PICC line in his tiny skull to stay alive.
One day, I stop on the way back from the NICU to pick up milk, a few groceries for the waiting boys at home. The cashier, she chomps the gum, flirts at the bag boy. Offhandedly, “How ya doin’?” I have no answer. My eyes brim.
We slowly whisper the news aloud to family, friends. Haltingly speak those strange, unfamiliar words out loud: “Baby Hudson has Down syndrome.” So much kindness, support: e-mails, cards, Facebook messages, phone calls, visits, meals.
And a few, “It’s all good.” What? I’m foggy, confused, shell-shocked, sleep deprived. It certainly doesn’t feel good. (Tell me, for whom is it all good?)
Days turn into weeks and baby Hudson comes home. We all adjust. Our world changes. Time heals.
We learn to love, care for Hudson, to interact anew as a family with our special needs baby finally home. Everyone pitches in. These are hard days, sleepless nights, priceless moments. We all grow, stretch because Hudson has joined our family.
Fast forward four years, to just last week. Jonathan (16) at a physical therapy consult, follow up on recent ACL replacement surgery. Hudson and I in the busy waiting room. Waiting. Hudson, yelling out unpredictably, throwing toys we bring from home… basically the terrible two’s at nearly five. I work with him, but still, the longest forty minutes.
The owner of the practice comes out with Jonathan, explains treatment details. I hone in, concentrate hard to listen. The therapist, he speaks a little louder for a minute, then drops out mid-sentence, hanging jaw. He’s distracted, looks beyond me. I glance back, see what he sees: Jonathan, crutches propped, down on one knee. The good knee. Ruffling Hudson’s hair, softly singing, distracting his little brother so I can hear. Hudson smiling, chortling. The therapist, in shock, he looks me straight in the eye, whispers, “I’d give anything for my son to even talk to his little sister. Boy what a nice kid you have.”
And I tear up. Because I Can’t Buy This moment for a million dollars, reminded anew my children are priceless gifts. All of my children. This moment, it’s free. And I wouldn’t trade an ounce of the pain or hardship on the journey. I was never numb, didn’t block it out. Deeply felt the excruciating, embraced it in time, eventually thanked God for it. And so this moment of joy and gratitude, it saturates me too. I see the beauty, compassion and kindness Hudson draws out in those around him. Another gift, Hudson’s unique needs shaping character, and our family. We’re not who we were before Hudson arrived. And we’re not all that we will become. Thank God.
Taylor brothers, 2010
And I imagine four boys playing games, wrestling, watching football together, hiking…having each other for life. What a wonderful future lies ahead for four brothers who have one another.
He will make all things beautiful in His time.
Related post: They Didn’t Know
Thank you for sharing! You are the perfect Mom for these boys God gave you. Now I need to find a tissue.
Debra Kozak says
Allie, God has gifted you with the most amazing ability to write. Thank you for writting!
Isn’t it so strange that God doesn’t just “make the best of a bad situation” but is somehow, purposefully. bringing us very good gifts in disguise. “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus….Oh for grace to trust him more.” Praying along with you in the difficulties and so appreciating that gentle shaping that is so evident in all of your family.
Nancy Hammettj says
Thanks for sharing this precious story. I would love to give the boys a big hug. You have a precious family . Gods blessing to you all. Love you’ll
Angela Dalton says
This is beautiful. I selfishly wished you still lived in Easley. Give yourself a hug from me. Love and miss you so much!
Thanks for sharing Allie. God has given you a gift.
I wish I had read this before putting my makeup on. So precious.
Allie, I didn’t know. No one told me, perhaps because they thought someone else did. I would have prayed for you, been there somehow for you as you started this journey that I had alteady navigated…am still navigating.
God bless your sweet family!
You took the gift…tentative but willing…and you opened it. Turns out, it’s been the gift that never stops giving!
Aunt pinkie says
Oh, Allie-what a wonderful story – am still tears! What a journey and what loving boys you have! Still couldn’t figure out how to hear it – dunce that I am!
Carolyn V says
Oh, my goodness, Allie. I have to wipe the tears from my eyes to be able to see the computer screen to type.
THANK YOU! My heart is too full right now to even put thoughts & feelings into words.
May God continue to bless you and your family.
Love to all!
Diane Trochim says
That was beautiful Allie! I’m glad you are sharing your God-given gift of writing. You come to mind often and your sweet family is in my prayers.
Wow Allie- thanks for sharing. It is so wonderful when we are allowed windows to see how good God is to us all the time 🙂
Beckie Manley says
Okay so now I’m sitting here crying. You are such a brave soul. You are such a beautiful soul. Thank God for sweet Hudson.
Beautiful story, beautiful boy, beautiful family…..thank you for taking a deep heart dip and then sharing it with us. Tissues, yes, and not one or two. Love you!
So incredibly beautiful. “He will make all things beautiful in His time.” That has touched my heart deeply as I am struggling with grief on this day. Thank you for the reminder and the encouragement. Wonderful pictures of your precious boys!
Linda Jenkins says
You and your family always make me smile and touch my life in the most positive way. He blessed you, and in turn, you and your family have multiplied those blessings in the lives of others. I thank God for you and your family, special gifts in the lives of all you touch.
Barbara Child says
All your boys are wonderful, and I believe the older ones will be all the more sensitive to and caring of people with disabilities than if they hadn’t had Hudson to help with and love so much! You have given us such a lovely glimpse of your heartache and joy. What a beautiful example your family is to all of us! Thanks for sharing your wonderful gift of expressing your heart!
Dianne Laxton says
Beautifully said. I love your family. You’re all an inspiration to me.
Oh, Allie, so beautiful beyond words. I’m crying. I love you!!!
Cindy Oliver says
Oops! After reading the first few lines, I woke Jim up to tell him you were having another baby! Guess I should have read a little further! Oh well, guess I won’t wake him up again to tell him I was mistaken.
What a beautiful piece!
Una Williams says
Thanks you for sharing your beautiful story with us, what a inspiration your family is, God bless you always ❤️
So beautiful, “blessings all mine, with 10,000 besides”
Laura Cook says
How I we adore EACH of the
Taylors. Your lives are a living, breathing, feeling, grace & truth filled testimony to our LORD Jesus Christ. Much, much love across the miles, Allie.
A breathtaking glimpse into the heart of your home and the amazing God who works in and through all to accomplish his unfathomable purposes!
Thank you for sharing your heart, and now I have to dry my eyes! Love you Allie
Allie Taylor says
Friends, many thanks to all for sharing our journey of heartache and joy. What a roller coaster it’s been. Grateful we were designed for community, that we don’t carry our burdens alone. Thanks to each of you for such kind, supportive, encouraging words. Truly thankful for your friendship across the years, miles and web. XOXO
Wow. I love your beautiful heart. Thank you for sharing it! What a precious grace gift. My mascara is running. Beautiful. Just beautiful. :’-)
Thank you! All your boys are indeed treasures!
Allie, thank you for sharing. He is truly precious…all four of your sons are! I appreciate that you shared your story. My son has special needs and although our stories are somewhat different, there were many things in this story that are familiar to me. He has a dear friend in his class at school with Downs Syndrome and she has been a blessing to him each day with her sweet spirit and friendship.
Thank you, Allie; your words are a gift. Thank you for the reminder that God’s grace is sufficient…that all our children are precious gifts, and that He will make everything beautiful in His time. All of us – imperfect moms and siblings…all! You have a beautiful family; your sons will be sensitive young men for having Hudson in their lives. We have another friend (whom we don’t see often enough) – a little girl almost a year older than Hudson, who shares a similar story, – and who has amazing parents and a big brother, who have learned and grown, I am sure, in ways they never dreamed; taking a journey they never expected to take, but living that journey with grace and wonder and celebration of their precious gift. Thank you! I hope (Physical Therapist me) that Jonathan’s knee heals quickly too!!
Barbara B. says
Allie, your heart has touched me and the tears are flowing, but they are tears to see how an all merciful God is in control of our lives, and He has gifted your family with a child who will need all the love and tenderness a family can muster, and He looked down and said,” I know – that Taylor family is the perfect place for My Child to develop with an abundance of love and they shall cherish this child as they themselves shall be nourished and molded because of him, and learn the difficult lessons I want to teach them all, that they may show the world that (I, their Lord) am in their midst blessing, loving, and bequeath courage and strength in their daily walk with Me.
I hadn’t seen this until today, such a touching moment. not at all surprised, Jonathan is a wonderful kid, I love being his aunt! I pray every day for you guys, Hudson indeed is a blessing, no matter how challenging. You are the super mom!!
bettie p says
My words are inadequate…. You…and your precious babes (and Jon!) are truly priceless gifts to us also. I am in awe of God’s glory. Thank you for sharing, beautiful lady!
Jennifer Anderson says
Hudson is so adorable and your boys are wonderful. Your post made me cry.
Thank you so much Jennifer, I am very blessed.
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Carina Spring says
It’s hard to express how beautiful this is. Thankyou so much for sharing Allie.
Marilyn Sylvester says
You know, Allie, some of your stories should be preceded by a warning: “Do not read after applying makeup or without a box of Kleenex within reach.” After reading this and running my makeup, I couldn’t see to find the Kleenex.
You’re right Marilyn. And you’re not the first person who has suggested this. I was a mess writing it and I tear up every time I read it again. Simultaneously joy and pain. God has been so good to me/us. XO
Alisa Anderson says
Allie, this was beautifully written and it certainly made me cry…fortunately for me, I hadn’t put make-up on yet, so that worked out for me (LOL)…I have at least two situations in m life that I could relate to when you wrote about this…thanks for sharing your heart…it blessed me more than you know.
Dear Alisa, thank you for your very kind words. I’m glad this was a blessing to you. (I shed more than a few tears writing it.) xo
LaWanna Burrows says
Allie, I will always believe god won’t give you more than you can endure and your family has passed with flying colors.I read a lot and I have not read more beautiful words.Thank you so much to start my day with such inspiration.
This was on my feed this morning so it is obviously a message I needed to hear. Thank you Allie. With tears falling from my eyes, my heart is even fuller. You could not be more right. These are the things you can’t buy. I love that you have been honest and frank about your thoughts and feelings. I have ALWAYS said I despise those words “it doesn’t matter, boy or girl, so long as they are healthy”. So what does that really mean? If their not “healthy” we won’t love them? Probably could not be further from the truth. ❤️
Awww Joan, I loved hearing from you. Thank you. You are a bright and shining star in my world. And the world of many others too. XO