Thursday, February 14, 2013

where there is love there is life

I skipped Fred's Tuesday night and climbed into bed before 8:00.  The next morning, I was the first to wake only to find a video message on my phone from the night before that I had missed.  I poured my coffee and sat down in my dark kitchen to watch.  I hit play and instantly recognized the smiling faces that appeared on my screen, disco ball lights twirling behind them.  My friends from Fred's.

"Hi, I love you!" Janice beams into the camera.
"I love you too, honey!" Matt yells from the side.
Stephanie hollers from the middle of the crowd, the reflection of the recording phone visible from her glasses, "Wishing you the best! We love you and miss you!  Please have that baby!"
They are smiling and waving and can barely stop dancing enough to stay still for the video. 

I wipe tears and smile, hitting the play button again.  How much these friends have taught me about love.


Saturday evening, I attended our local Civitan Club's Valentine's Day Dance for adults with special needs for the second year in a row.  It was a lot different this year.  I know these friends now.  I've danced with so many of them for months at Fred's, and I am slowly but surely being desensitized to feelings that used to pulse blatantly within--feelings like "this isn't what I dreamed my kid's future would look like."  Truth is, it isn't.  And if I wanted to, I could let that realization bear its weight so heavily on my heart that I'd miss everything else I noticed at that dance.

There will always be sensitivities, always be moments of sadness where I listen to and acknowledge the voice within that says "this is hard."  Because there is no doubt, being present at that dance, that I understand this road will be challenging.  There's no doubt that these friends' mamas have cried rivers over the years, have watched their children struggle to make friends, have fought hard and made sacrifices just so their children can enjoy Valentine's Day together, at a dance in a church gymnasium.

But there is also no doubt that they've learned something about love that stretches deeper than any card could ever express.

I noticed everything Saturday night.  I wanted to, and so I took pictures and recorded video and told myself to look for all the hidden things that would teach me more about love. 

Like the way some friends arrive to the church at 3, just to sit quietly at a table until 5 when the dance actually starts.  Or the way Jamie jumps out and starts dancing by herself, without any music.  The way Nottie and Jeremy hold hands the entire night because they are in love.  I watch Todd and Christine accept their crowns as King and Queen of the dance, and I cry as they proudly walk through their procession, friends clapping by their side.  I laugh every time Ron makes his rounds through the gym, stopping at our table, asking the same questions every time.  And when Matt begs me to dance and I jokingly tell him I'm taking it easy, the baby could be born on the dance floor, we all laugh as he rolls his eyes and says "Oh my God, that's so not going to happen."

I smile as high school students humbly serve these precious friends, and I think to myself that every teenager needs to do this--needs to be here, serving, dancing, learning.  I watch as the girl who bags my groceries--the one who's always shy and quiet--comes alive in a way I've never seen on the dance floor.  I marvel at the love they all have for each other.  They look out for each other, these friends--they've been in this together for quite some time now.  I see girls that remind me of what Nella might be like at 25 or 30 and I study their moves, their smiles, their confidence.

And I know that I still have so much to learn about love.  But this is a really good place to discover it. 

Friends, this is what true love looks like.  Happy Valentine's Day.


valentines dance from ETST on Vimeo.

164 comments:

Chelsea said...

Love your Blog!

Kathlyn said...

Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours! I love reading your words and seeing your pictures - more often than not I end up in tears of overwhelmed-ness. Love to you!

Marilou Blundell said...

Love reading your inspiring ventures with you beautiful family.

Erin Beaudette said...

What an amazing video. Looks like everyone had lots of fun and lots of love. You and Nella have so much to look forward to! In the very near future, another adoring brother for your girls. Wishing lots of love at the Hampton house this year.

Jane MacDonald said...

Happy Love Day Kelle! Was flying my Valentine freak flag high this morning serving v-day breakfast and packing special lunches for my littles. Was thinking of you!! Enjoy your day! XO

Rosie Keisha said...

The pure joy and love in that video was so beautiful to watch. Thanks for sharing that..it made my day! Happy Valentine's Day to the Hampton family.

camilla said...

So beautiful! You are so inspiring and have changed the way I view love and life in such an amazing way.

Kellie said...

thanks for teaching me so much about love...

Susan Martin said...

You love so BIG, Kelle. I wanna love like that. Happy Valentine's Day.

Jen said...

A really lovely video, thank you for sharing :)

Rachel said...

I just love this, I always have mixed feelings at our DSFA events, especially when interacting with the adults with DS, I have both excitement and fear when I think of the years to come. Sam just turned 5 and the gap with him and his peers is starting to grow each day but I am learning to embrace the gap. I have to remember that it is not an empty gap, it is a gap filled with love, like you said I just have to look for it. We have quite a journey ahead but who doesn't! Happy day of LOVE!

B. Merrell said...

Absolutely beautiful, thanks for sharing.

Samantha Jo said...

We can all learn a whole lot from these beautiful souls! Their confidence and ability to just BE is so inspiring :) Happy Valentine's Day to you and your lovely family! Anxiously awaiting for the arrival of your newest little love! xo

Kristen said...

Puddle. I'm a complete puddle. (and so, so blessed for it)

Lynn Herron said...

Beautiful !!!

Carolyn Savage said...

Kelle, I think the fact that you are choosing to see the love in this room and balance it with the fears that all of us have for our children, regardless of their abilities, is such a blessing. Your journey is unique to you. Thank you for sharing it, heavy hearted moments and all. Happy Valentines Day.

homeiswhatyoumakeit said...

Did you notice all the SMILES?!
Although, my eyes filled with tears, I couldn't help but smile...they are contagious.
Thank you for sharing...

Tonya said...

This made me cry happy tears, thank you.....

SmithShack71 said...

Right. On.

shi said...

Oh goodness...i need some tissues! This love is just so beautiful :)

Life is good! said...

YES, those are the faces of true unconditional love!

Holistic Mom said...

I haven't even watched the video and I'm in tears! Happy Valentine's Kelle!

Amy said...

Thanks for sharing this video, your words are so beautiful!

Tuesday night my kids and I attended a high school basketball game. It was pretty packed. There was an older man with Down syndrome sitting off by himself. Without hesitation I went and sat next to him. He turned to me and smiled and I introduced myself and shook his hand. He was so sweet, we made small talk. Maybe I made his night, maybe I didn't. Maybe someone noticed our encounter and thought "hey maybe I should do that too sometime." Maybe not. Maybe my kids took notice, again maybe not.

What matters is I wouldn't have done that 5 years ago, not because I'm mean, but because I wouldn't THINK to go to someone sitting alone in a packed gym.

I'm glad I think of it now. Thanks for sharing your story and encouraging people to do more.

kc said...

WOW!! Now that is a true testament of love. I really needed to read this today and get back to the heart of "love" Today isn't about cards, candies, flowers, commercialized sensations of who got what and who got the best gift..it's just about love. Any shape, form, color or size, love is the perfect fit for everyone!!

dodgingacorns said...

Happy Valentine's Day Kelle - and to Lainey and Nella and all of you! That video was amazing, and I wish you so much joy on your continued journey with your family!!

PeggyMomma said...

Love, Love, LOVE the video (and you, or course, Kelle)! I hope all the participants get to watch it, also.
Can't wait to meet your Baby Boy!

Jill said...

Beautiful. I cried watching the video. I think it is because I could see God radiating through all the joy and love that filled that room. Thanks for sharing. Made my Valentine's day.

Kate J said...

Where there is not an active, vibrant community like this, I think we have to be proactive and get it going!!! I love the cheerleaders and teens being involved. I think that does much to take away the fear.
My daughter with a dev. disability is 10, and our family has been blessed beyond belief with the love evident here. Thank you for sharing it!

Growing Up Gardner said...

Beautiful!

julia rose. said...

Your writing never ceases to amaze me- it is always so beautiful and your unending love always shines through! Happy LOVE Day to you, your family, Nella, and all of the dancers at Fred's!!

Maria said...

A beautiful room filled with beautiful hearts! Down Syndrome is a Blessing, and your new little baby boy is so incredibly lucky to be blessed with you and your enormous capacity to love- Anxiously awaiting little boy!!!! Happy Happy Valentine'd Day to all your loves and to you!

Lauren said...

Kelle,
I read your blog daily and today, it brought tears to my eyes. I will send photos soon of my sweet aunt who will be 50 this summer!! I think my life has been truly blessed having her be a part of it. She has taught me love beyond what I thought possible, as this experience is teaching you as well. I am 31 and have lived with her as if she is my sister for 25 years (less my time in college) and I am so thankful that my daughter, who is 1, gets to bond with her as I have. Happy Valentine's Day to you & yours today!!

Amy @ A Glimpse of the Gouglers said...

I've been following your blog now for nearly a year and have maybe commented once before, but I couldn't resist the urge to comment today. Your video literally brought tears to my eyes. Tears of joy and love. It is so beautiful and you are very inspiring. You're little Nella is gorgeous and so lucky to have you as her mommy. Happy Valentine's day!

Nikki said...

Fantastic post! Thanks for sharing :)

Nikki

Lori Bowring Michaud said...

What an absolutely beautiful video. It brought tears to my eyes it's so beautiful. Good luck to you Kelle!

Jennifer Padawer said...

I'm sitting in my car bawling over your video and your beautiful perspective and honesty. You sre such an example that, no matter what we are walking through, "it's gonna be a good life" as long as we choose to see it that way! Thank you Kelle!

Jodi said...

It made me cry too! Happy good tears. I hope it's okay to share this video? I just loved it so!

madeleine said...

Kelle- amazing post. This is beautiful- no words - just smiles:)

Raelyn said...

Kelle....
Happy Valentine's Day!! ;-D
I feel the need to share you a story. A couple years ago, somebody we knew had a beautiful baby girl--unexpectedly, like you--with Down Syndrome. My Dad wrote her Daddy an e-mail. He said that we would have never chosen for his son to have Down Syndrome. But. In the long run, he has been such a blessing!! Such a blessing. ;)
--Raelyn

Life with Kaishon said...

Now this, this, is a beautiful video to look at on Valentines day. I hope your day is filled with great love.

Emily said...

I always leave your blog feeling a little lighter. Thanks, and Happy Valentine's Day to you too :)

Kara said...

Lump.In.Throat.

Brenna said...

So many wonderful smiles in that video! And some dance moves too!

6512 and growing said...

"and told myself to look for all the hidden things that would teach me more about love."

Yes! I like how you acknowledge to yourself the parts that are hard and scary, and then allow yourself to see what lies beyind the fear and sadness. The "hidden things."

So beautiful.

Kaara A said...

Heart swells with love ;)

Shannon said...

Beautiful video Kelle! I love your blog and how much you actually live your life. I grew up with a sister who has cerebral palsy so I was often around people with disabilities and I remember when I was little going to my sisters school and the autistic children were always the friendliest the first to run up to me, to hug, hold my hand always ready to be my friend. It's always made me think that they have it right and we are the ones that are suffering with a disability, always worrying what others think, insecure, timid at times. Autistic children and adults don't see any differences they just love everyone. This video brought tears to my eyes and so many memories back, thank you!

Maureen said...

Okay, now you have me bawling. Just sent to my two at college and my junior in high school to watch. Want them to read your beautiful words and video and see what love is...also thought they could pick up a dance move or two. Happy Valentines Day!!!

Alli said...

Best thing to see on Valentines Day! This brought tears of happiness as I watched it. To see their eyes light up with happiness was beautiful.

Shannon said...

My heart just melted watching the video, looks like a great time was had by all!!

JustMrsForbes said...

Oh, Kelle. That video was beautiful! Thank you for sharing. As always, I love your perspective and enjoy seeing things through your eyes and your words.

AC said...

Thank you... I needed this today. A little bright spot to pull me out of myself. Thank you. :)

kdactyl said...

Darn you Kelle...It is two days in a row now that I have sat at my desk crying while reading your blog. You know how to bring it out. I loved that video...nothing but joy there.
We moved to a new neighborhood 2 years ago. Our son was 3 and our daughter an infant. Almost every evening a pair of bicycle riders circled thru our culdesac. It is a father (probably well into his 60's or 70's) and his adult son Douglas who has Downs Syndrome. Douglas is friendly and so very very inquisitive. He wanted to stop to talk any time we were out...but I could tell his dad thought he might be bothering us and would hurry him along. so I made sure I waved one day and opened up the opportunity for him to stop. Oh what a sweetheart he is. And my son loves him. He doesn't see anything other than who Douglas is...just Douglas...as God intended him to be. I am lucky that I got to work in a school for special needs kids when I was in my early 20's. I got to see first hand the love and joy of those kids. I love that Douglas is a small part of our days. I love that my son will have this experience of seeing the person before society places the labels in his brain. I loved seeing those teenagers and cheerleaders dancing. I'm sure it will give them more of a compassionate perspective because of that wonderful experience.
hugs....hope you are holding your baby boy in your arms soon.
kd

Andrea said...

LOVELY video Kelle. Just what I needed to see today.

You are not on this journey alone ... we are all learning with you and through you, and I myself am so grateful for that opportunity.

Happy happy Valentine's Day to you and your beautiful family.

Ali's Mom said...

What a perfect Valentine's Day message. thank you for sharing, Kelle. Enjoy your day. and ..."way to go Amy"...hopefully you inspired someone else too!

SH said...

Happy Valentines to your family. I love reading your blog!

Sheree
The Hartungs Blog
thehartungs.blogspot.ca

House On Franklin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
House On Franklin said...

Love, Love the video. Thanks for sharing. I posted about it on my blog, sharing why I love your book and blog so much. Also encouraging others to come check your blog out!

www.houseonfranklin.blogspot.com

heidi said...

I'm a blog reader but have never commented BUT when I read this post I had to! My 16 year old daughter volunteers every Thursday night at our local Developmental Center and has a deep deep love for the men and women she serves. She has formed friendships and is always sharing stories of the great things she gets to experience while she's there. She wants to major in Special Education in college and she lights up whenever she talks about her future career. I think it is so wonderful that high school students are able to have oppotunities like this...and YOU are amazing.

shari said...

Kelly -
thank you! For all that you do! This set me crying on Valentine's Day morn... and HEY!, that's ok! Love is the main character in that video! Unabashed free expression!
What a good way to begin a day... feeling like the world is good, and we are all different and LOVE is all we need! <3
sharinicsevic@att.net

Susi K (BocaFrau) said...

This is just too good for words. Your words and this video - so precious. I cried but not because I was sad, but because I could feel the happiness radiating through! Simply amazing. Happy Valentines Day!

Joeylee said...

This video has brought a huge smile to my face!!!

shari said...

ooops - do believe I just hit the "y" key at the end of your name.. instead of Kelle...
sorry

Paige said...

That video makes my heart so happy. Happy LOVE day!

Mariska said...

Beautiful video.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Boswell0617 said...

Love the video! Too much happy in one place! An instant cure for a case of the blues.

Krissy said...

this video made me smile. thank you. Happy Valentines day!

Jessica said...

Awesome love this so much!!

I'm a Special Olympics head coach and recently one of our athlete's came home from the world games and about 50 people came to meet him at the airport. He was SO excited to see everyone - but by passed every single one of us (and the 3 TV Crews and NEwspapers) to ask his girlfriend to go on a date with him in a few days. This was after 40+ hours of travelling! Regardless of the fact that I'm almost 38 weeks pregnant, I bauled like a baby at it, it was such a great moment!! That video made me smile thank you for sharing!!

Happy Valentine's Day to you and your beautiful family!

Laurie Hoffman said...

This type of love is the kind that Valentine's Day should be about... Sometimes we need a reminder of the beauty around us, and this is truly beautiful!

Valerie Hartman said...

Thank you. Thank you for sharing your friends today.

Jessie Wigand said...

Kelle,
I absolutely love this blog and your talent for writing. This post hit my emotions right on. I am 23 years old, and have a 12 year old brother with DS. I have learned more about love from him than I have from anything else. Living this life has its challenges, but they are SO WORTH IT for the rewards. I only wish that every person has the chance to feel that kind of love. Thank you for your honest expression of emotions and the love that you have for the small (and big) things. Much love to you and your beautiful family, Happy Valentine's Day!!

Terri Schurz said...

Thank you, Kelle. What a truly lovely word you've shared. The dance looks like it was filled to the brim with love :)

MM3 said...

Love, love, love this. THIS is what it's all about. You can feel the joy and happiness.

Theresa said...

If you ever find yourself in Chicago on a Wednesday night, you need to visit the adult group at Gigi's Playhouse. There is so much talent in those four walls, so much joy. My daughter has a typical amount of chromosomes, and I hope that her life will be as full as the people I serve by running this group. I feel so honored to even be a part of their lives.

Susie Q said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! Next time I'm in Naples, I'm heading to Fred's!!! Thanks, Kelle, for taking the video! I love and agree 100% that all high school kids should be so lucky to have the opportunity to meet and interact with these extra-ordinary people!! So much love in that room, I'm surprised the roof didn't pop off!! :-)

Sandhya said...

This is the sweetest thing I have seen in weeks. Such a heartwarming video. Happy Valentine's Day, Kelly. You are doing good work. You're making me see Down's differently. Positively.

Julie said...

My daughter is beginning to look at Grad School to study Pediatric Physical Therapy. She has had to do a number of shadows to make sure it is what she wants. After her latest, in a elementary school, she said "have you ever gone to a job and felt like it was created just for you"? When I read you blog, you job as Nella's mom was created just for you!

Thank you for sharing.

Liz said...

what a beautiful video... makes me cry happy tears :)
Happy Valentine's Day!

Maria said...

Kelle, that was so beautiful. I have a cousin that was born with cerebral palsy. He is funny, endearing, playful & smart. If everyone could experience life with these special souls they too would be desensitized to the stigma unfairly surrounding them.
You are doing your part in allowing us to fall head over heels in love with Nella. May each family know that love has no bounds.

Kim Welch said...

Well.... you made me cry again. Happy Valentines Day to you and yours!

Laura said...

I met Matt the other day bumped into him and recognized him from your Instagram! I think he felt pretty special that he has a friend like you, he told me you write and I was like dude she has like a million followers...to him you are just kelle who likes to get her dance on at Fred's! :)

The McNelis Family said...

Beautiful! Happy Valentine's Day to all the stars of your video, to you, and your family. My heart has grown since discovering your blog a couple of years ago. Thank you!

Liane said...

The video was awesome. Totally made me smile :) x

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Beautiful.

Liz said...

This is so truly amazing. I love it. Beautiful video, beautiful smiles.

Kim, Living to Seas the Moment said...

I have been following your blog for about 6 months now and have to say, YOU and YOUR honesty have changed me...in ways I never dreamed I needed to be changed. I bought your book via Kindle and saved it for a recent trip from NC to OK. I am sure on all 3 plane rides that day that those around me must have thought I was crazy...openly crying one minute and laughing out loud, really loud, the next. Keep writing...you & your family are changing the world, one follower at a time. May your labor and delivery be a blessed experience!

Michelle said...

The joy of everyone in that video had my computer moving along with them as I watched. But your words that described this post and how we should all strive to be in our love for one another is even more magical. Kelle, I can not say this enough how much you are inspiring me!! THANK YOU SO MUCH and wishing you, Nella, Lainey, Brett and baby Fox the best Valentine's Day!! xoxo Mich

Emily said...

I cried. Just beautiful...you can see the love and joy emanating out of everyone in that room!

Gina said...

Beautiful video! Thank you for sharing.

Moe said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. You inspire me on a daily basis.

Nic C said...

Yep I am one of those readers who reads and never writes... but today I am moved to write. Thank you for sharing what you 'saw' the other night, and thank you for your honesty in sharing your thoughts both last year and this. I cried. I too am learning about love, and sometimes it is overwhelming, but always it is amazing. My wish for my little boy is that he too will have many friends and connections with openminded people who are willing to see him for who he is. My wish for myself is that I will grow to be a role model who inspires others to share the love and be openminded and accepting. Thank you so much for your inspiration in this x

Elizabeth Beads said...

I can only say amen. Tell it Kelle. <3

earlynovemberlove said...

Made me cry...again. So beautiful.

Blessing Counter said...

My 15-year-old daughter volunteers every Thursday night with the Special needs ministry at our church. She agrees with every thing you say here -- she values her time there above all her other activities!! Her brothers (she is a triplet) have Cerebral Palsy. They are different from the adults she works with -- their disabilities limited to their physical motor skills -- and yet, I understand everything you say here. I walk into that room to pick her up and feel blessed, loved and some sorrow for the hard that is the reality my boys face. Thanks, Kelle, for sharing!

Jannice said...

Great video! Tears just watching all of the love and acceptance. There were some good moves on that floor...a litltle dirty dancing even! Many blessings to you and your family as you wait for your little boy!

Andrea said...

This makes my heart happy.

Michelle said...

That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

LadyDi said...

So wonderful to see a get together of people w/o judgements. These kids/adults are sooo sweet and loving. Nella may actually be the lucky one. Thank you!

Jen said...

Kelle, this was beautiful, heartfelt, and honest. Thank you. More posts like this please.

Bee Girl said...

Beautiful. Thank you.

Elizabeth Marques Kogan said...

I love your writing style!

kstyle said...

Bottom line. It would be amazing
to be a child of yours. k

Beth @ E. lizard Breath Speaks said...

this makes me heart feel so huge - such a special time & moments. i was already crying - glad i turned down the music - that was making it even more difficult. wow. so great!!

i had a special friend at church that i always ask my parents about - his parents are elderly & i wonder who will take care of him as he continues to age - he always remembered my name & gave me a wave. very friendly. so special. ( :

Stephanie Precourt said...

Beautiful.

Happy Valentine's Day to you, too! xoxo

Steph

LW said...

Heard the fox cometh! Good luck and happy birthing!!

Jeanie said...

Thanks for that, Kelle. It was wonderful and brought a lot of tears.

growMama said...

i have tears in my eyes, so glad to have your blog in my life. As mama's we open our arms to our children and just do our best to guide and nourish what comes. You never know what comes, nor could we imagine what it would be like. There is magic in it all. x

robin said...

Love your blog! :)

Big brother, Little sister. said...

Thankyou for sharing this video. I always cry at moments captured like this, not because it is sad, but because I see these individuals on their own journey and think about their parents who have supported them and that's when I feel the pang in my heart, being the parent of a child with a disability. I relate to the parents journey .

Farmgirl Paints said...

Watched the whole thing. Started tearing up before I even started it. Thank you for capturing love in this way. It's in your words. It's in who you caught on video. It's beautiful. I saw the girl that looks like Nella. She was in the red dress with the blond flipped up hair. I can see it. Hard at times I'm so sure...but you are doing great friend.

Liz said...

Crying right now. So beautiful.

Amy said...

Thankyou for sharing the joy!!! I have enjoyed reading your posts for the past 2 years. My daughter Molly ( 9) has DS.

I loved that this video gave me peak into her future.

As we met with our investment planner last evening to fund a special needs trust, I felt so overwhelmed by the future and the uncertainty...this video was just what I needed. The future feels brighter... we are all in this together.

I also I loved the post that Amy wrote today about being purposeful in her actions to sit my the man at the basketball game...

Awareness= Compassion. Thanks for opening your heart to teach others and make them aware of are kiddos.

Susan said...

Beautiful!!!

meg said...

Tears, tears, tears! Thank you!

amber said...

Having a hard time putting thoughts and fears into words lately. Just when things get rough for me, your blog puts things right back into perspective. Thanks for the beautiful post .

Rosie Keisha said...

Can it be? Did you just post your gorgeous baby boy's photo on Instagram? He's beautiful Kelle and looks just like Brett...congratulations!!

Ann Badaglia said...

That completely made my Valentines Day, was one of the most beautiful videos i have ever seen. i recently read your story, and then had to go to your blog and devour every word and picture of it. When i started reading your blogs before Nella, they were wonderful, but post Nella, i heard such a beautiful shift in your soul, you get it, you get the true meaning of so much, something i can only pray for. you are a beautiful soul and i love reading your posts. and your photography, well i can't say enough to even begin to compliment you on your pictures. thank you for sharing your life, it has made me re-look a lot of pieces of mine... Ann Badaglia

PatsyAnne said...

I loved the video - it made me cry, it made me laugh, it made me think...
Happy Valentine's Day to your family!

mommyto3 said...

Oh the love!!! It looks like a wonderful time was had by all! Thank you for sharing this!

Moosefan said...

Kelle-You are so lucky! Not everyone gets to see a glimpse into their children's future. Did you see what I saw? I saw love, friendship, guys and girls dressed to the nines! I saw happiness, laughter, whispers shared between BFF and awesome food. I saw girls who had shopped for the perfect outfit and accessories and guys who probally had a little too much cologne on. You got to take a little peek! Remember this!

Sharon said...

Your video brought tears of joy and love to my eyes! I recently lost my VERY "special" girl way too early and I know a lot about what true love is. It is a love that my daughter taught me every second in her short 6 years.

Your family is amazing and I wish you all the best!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tammie said...

CONGRATULATIONS to your whole FAMILY on Baby Dashel, love his name. He is so so cute. Bless you all.

Wendy said...

Happy birth day to your new little boy!

Christina said...

I never comment on here, but you amaze me. Nella could not have asked for a better mother. What a beautiful match you two make. And congratulations on the baby Dash!! Just saw that on Instagram and brought tears to my eyes. Enjoy it to it's fullest, as I'm sure you will. :) Here's to your happiest Valentine's Days from here on out!!!

Nancy Malone Waynick, M.O.M. said...

I see nothing but happiness in these photos & videos. Just makes me smile. What precious folks!

Lynn Richards said...

Oh, Kelle. How true your words ring-loud and clear!!!!
It's a tough road, but the good parts? Oh my Lord. They are better than anything I have ever known in 50 years.

Just gets better from here!
xo
lynn

Lindsay said...

What a beautiful video! Such happy memories for you all.

mumofsix said...

Congratulations on that extra little bit of love you snuck into St Valentines's Day! Magical xx

Melissa King said...

this video is beautiful, and the music you chose. love it. i heard your precious miracle arrived on Valentine's...what a gift. :)

Tammie said...

No words need to be said, that is what Love is all about, just written all over their faces.. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

Happy Valentines :) What a great day to have a baby xx

Beverly said...

WOW! That certainly is true, unconditional love! The world needs so much more of that.

Shannon said...

In tears over the video. As the mom of 2 children with Down Syndrome(1 with significant medical needs), I want THIS for them. I want love and laughter and friends. Such joy and beauty...thank you for sharing this.

17enne said...

Just saw the video, it really makes me want to dance! I rellay appreciate this kind of events, expecially because I'd dance everywhere. Maybe I can come to Fred's too when I'll be in Florida.

By the way congratulations: a lovely boy born in the day of Love. What's better?

Love
a 17-year-old two times big sister from Northern Italy

Cindy said...

That video brought me so much happiness. My heart is full today and that just made it over flow. The love in everyones' faces, the joy and the fun y'all had - makes me smile and beam.

Midwestgirl said...

Oh geez, that song... True Colors. brings tears to my eyes no matter where or when I hear it. Thank you for making that video, for putting that song in there and for making my morning!

N's loving parents said...

Don't you just love LOVE! I think this is fabulous. I need some of them moves :)!

The onion Farmers Wife said...

Hammer dance guy totally made my day! Love to you!

Kelly Sheehy said...

So beautiful, and so inspiring. :)

Susana Pinheiro said...

Kelle, I find so much inspiration and positive energy from your blog! You are a beautiful human being! Congrats on the beautiful family and the newest addition!

MamaNina said...

I am in love with the young lady with the long hair and glasses and the blonde in the red dress. <3.
Congrats on welcoming new life into the world as well.

LeiShell said...

My heart felt that love and joy watching that. So precious.

Carol Ann said...

Kelle--On those days when you are saying to yourself, "this is hard" I recommend watching this clip from Will and Grace. Life for many of us is incredibly difficult, as you are well aware, but my family always incorporates Nurse Trainee Pittman into our most difficult moments and we find ourselves laughing until we practically pass
out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8GlfkXQam4

Wendy said...

Absolutely loved this, beautiful!!

Barb Farlow said...

Love this video!! There is nothing like a dance for people with DS. I had the good fortune to attend one once and it was unforgettable!

Kimmy said...

Love it. Looks so fun and beautiful.

Kelly Cach said...

Tears for my girl, tears for my boys. I see a dance like this in our future. Jim and I will chaperone, the boys will volunteer and serve, and the whole family will be dancing...all because of her.

Jacquelyn said...

I love this so much... I have cerebral palsy, and being born with a disability has been the BIGGEST blessing. I would never change it, because it has opened up my world to so many amazing people! Two of my closest friends have DS. They are treasures. I now work as a support worker with adults with a variety of disabilities, and we go together to a camp for a week each summer, and wednesday nights are always dance party nights-- it's my hands down favourite night of the entire year. so much joy and love packed into one room. This video makes me so excited for the upcoming dance all over again :) There's one gentleman, Bruce, who has DS, the bluest eyes and snow white hair, and he is the ultimate ladies man. He asks to "have this dance" and then proceeds to sing "Love Me Tender" to whoever his partner is-- needless to say we all compete to dance with him! It just mets me into a puddle every time. beautiful. Thank you for this, and congratulations on your new baby!

Erin Magana said...

ya know, in a society where most people love with 10% of their heart and judge, hate, stress, and rush with the other 90% i am always refreshed and can't not smile when i see sweet souls like the ones here.. they know what life is about. no time to hate and worry and need to fit in or be what someone expects of them. they love everyone. all the time. we should all take notes from your Fred's friends.

Annie bananie said...

Beautiful...:) thank you for sharing your life through your blog....I have been following for 3 years....lol Your family is beautiful! :) xoxo!

Alexis said...

I often find myself wondering if they live a better life than us without "diagnosed" disabilities.

So much love, so much joy, so much life spent living.

monocot said...

That girl in red has better dance moves than me seriously :>

Arielle said...

That.video.was.awesome. LOVED it!

Tracey's Life said...

That was just absolutely the most beautiful thing I have seen in a while. Thank you! You made me cry tears of joy.

Debby said...

Someone spilled the beans......CONGRATULATIONS.

Jan said...

Loved the video. I do wish my Suzie would have had a valentine's day dance to go to. She would have had her grove on.

Debra Oliver said...

Absolutely beautiful Kelle! Love seeing all their smiling faces.
Blessings and congrats to you on your baby boy. Such a beautiful and full family you have.
Debra (Origami Owl)

Steph said...

http://www.renegademothering.com/2013/02/09/i-became-a-mother-and-died-to-live/

I love reading your blog. It makes me excited to have my own kids some day. But the link to that blog post explains my anxiety about it. Ad I feel bad for even saying it...

Rach said...

Love it!

india banks said...

this makes so happy that i'm crying!

india banks said...

this makes so happy that i'm crying!

india banks said...

this makes so happy that i'm crying!

Douglas said...

When I see this video I remember what's RIGHT with this world. Thank you for being one of the few voices of that goodness. Continued love and success..Marissa

Alicia D said...

This post is particularly meaningful to me. I have to commend you for your commitment to showing folks who are differently-abled at all ages and stages of life. As the mother of a 17 year old multiply disabled and severely cognitively impaired daughter, I often wonder - where are the families like mine? Where are the kids like mine? It's like, the media is saturated with images when they are little kids but after they turn say 10 or so, they seem to vanish. All these kids grow up, and I love the way you have celebrated these kids who grow up and allow the world to see and know how special they are too :)

xoxox!

macjo said...

Your words as always are beautiful and so relevant. I watched the video with many tears, hoping that my oldest daughter will one day go to a dance like this.