I am a very lucky man – I’ve got an amazing wife and am the father to three wonderful kids. Lylli was born on Halloween in 2008, Gracie was born November 2010 and although she only lived for 17 months, she will remain as much a part of this family as the rest of us, and Mickey Gray, our first son, was born in June of 2012. I’m not going to say that life has gone exactly as I would have wanted, but it is a good life and I am determined to make the best of it.

This blog is an attempt to document my quest to become a dad that my family can be proud of.

Monday, June 21, 2010

So You think You Can Dance? NOPE!

I'm not a dancer - Much more like Fred Flintstone than Fred Astaire - just something I don't like to do -- My wife loves to dance -- her whole family dances - I'd like to throw out the Ginger Rogers comparison here, but that isn't going to happen either (love ya Carrie). But I really do appreciate people that get enjoyment from throwing caution to the wind and moving their body to the music. To those that choose to sit along side and point fingers and laugh at the ones on the dance floor, I'd like to say -- really, who's the nerd or loser or goofball? The one not caring what others think, living in the moment and enjoying themself, or the one standing there putting down others to make themself feel better? That said, although I appreciate it, its just not something I enjoy that much. Carrie knew I wasn't a dancer getting into this whole thing and for the most part she's pretty good about it, but without a doubt there was always a point in the night when we were sitting at a wedding dance where she'd get mad that I don't dance - we finally came to a compromise -- I don't dance, and will most likely pretty much continue to not dance, but if we are at a wedding and a certain song comes on, I promised her that I will dance no matter what. As I watched my father-in-law this weekend dance to the Studebakers outside a tent - next to the beer trailer at a winery festival in the middle of the afternoon, I realized the topic of my next blog as well as a challenge that I am making to myself and want to make to those of you that are reading this. Pick a song - any song -- it could be a song with great meaning to you or just a song that makes you feel good and I challenge you to take my wedding promise to Carrie and incorporate it into your whole life. If at anytime, no matter where you are or what you are doing, that song comes -- Dance -- dance for those that can't and for those that can, dance and celebrate all that is good in this world -- don't worry about what anybody else thinks -- odds are it'll make them smile and improve their day too -- yeah, if you have to pull over your car and dance on the side of the road -- you may feel silly, but do it - I guarantee when you are finished, you will feel good. It won't be pretty when I do it, that I can guarantee, but I'm going to do it for my wife and for my daughter and for my unborn daughter, Gracie. Something that no matter where we are, we will do it to celebrate how goofy and beautiful this journey is that we're on. I challenge you to do the same. I'm not going to tell you what song I've chosen, but I will say that both my wife and daughter are girls that have brown eyes. I hope you choose a song and do the same.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Will's Baseball Game

I realized the other night that I may not have it together as much as I thought.  The Miracle League is an awesome organization that we've known about for several years.  We've even sort of been involved in a very small role in the past (Carrie and I played Santa and the Mrs. at their Christmas Parties at the MOA for a couple years – an awesome event – Since Gracie's diagnosis, I have not been able to get this little girl's face out of my head (she has DS) – she made me laugh both years – one year, she wanted a cell phone for Christmas and told me to not even bother if I was going to try to pass off one of those fake ones – as her mom and sister were pulling her away – she was yelling at me  "A Real One!, A Real One!" ). 

The Miracle League is a baseball league for kids with disabilities.  A few years ago we started to occasionally attend games, at a field not too far from our house, to watch some kids we know that play in the league.  Maybe its because athletics have been such a big part of my life, but when I watch these games, I spend half of the time wiping my eyes because I am so constantly overwhelmed with emotion – not because I feel bad for anyone, but because for the time that these kids are out there – they are not their disability, but instead, its game day and they are a part of a team  - an athlete playing baseball - and although you'll never mistake this game for a game at Target Field or even your typical little league event, it means as much, actually dare I say more, to these baseball players than any game I've ever played in.  I encourage anyone to show up on a random Wednesday or weekend for a game and cheer from the bleachers – It's so much fun and effects you in a way that can't be explained until you experience it in person. 

Wednesday night, Carrie mentioned that Will (a friend's son) had a game that night – For those that don't know – Tracy is Carrie's co-teacher, one of her best friends, and a bridesmaid in our wedding.  She has three children, one of whom (her son Will), was born with Down Syndrome.  This is Will's first year in the Miracle league (I think it's his 1st).  I need to change thoughts for second – The value of the support and advice that we are getting and will be getting from Tracy and Steve (her husband) about the journey we have ahead of us is immeasurable.  I can't convey how appreciative we are to have them in our lives.  OK – back to the Miracle League – I also know that one of my friends' (Pat and Shannon) sons, Cole, plays in the Miracle League as well.  When Carrie mentioned that Will is playing on Wednesday nights, I thought it would be cool sometime to go check out a game.  Its been a couple years since we've been to one and it will be neat to see if Will and Cole are on the same team or play each other, etc.  Anyway – we found out at 6:25 that the game was at 6:30, so we couldn't make it and decided to walk with Lyl to the park down the street instead.  But later that night as I tossed and turned my way to sleep, as I thought about it – I guarantee the next time I see a Miracle League Game, I will be looking at this game in a whole different way – I may need to watch it from my car – not sure how I'll keep it together while looking at it through the eyes of the father of a potential player someday.  I know there are many hurdles to jump before we ever get there, for instance, little things like she needs to be born, and address her heart issue, etc - but you think I thought about a lot of things before?  Hang On!

A lot like owning a Jeep

I used to write things in this blog once in a great while just to blow off some steam and to make the extremely limited audience laugh by making me the butt of the jokes. I was proud of my post yesterday and got a lot of great feedback. There's something therapeutic about typing my thoughts. I'll admit, and if you know me well you also know, that to a fault, I am constantly thinking and having new ideas, and the thought of not painting the picture of these thoughts as accurately or complete as they come to me or skipping an important one for a less profound one feels a bit paralyzing. Unfortunately for my wife, I carry that same theory into many aspects of my life – for example - home improvement, which results in many unfinished projects. How's that saying go? Paralysis by Analysis?

I use the wrong words a lot, spell things incorrectly, use too many dashes – and instead of ending a thought, create paragraph long run-on sentences. However, I figure, whether people follow this or not, I think it might be a good idea for me to log some of my thoughts as we wait for the arrival of Gracie.

Earlier this week we went to Costco – after checking out with our standard cart full of dog food and bulk candy, Carrie talked me into stopping at the food court up front for dinner (nothing but the best for the Delaney's). As I sat there eating my hotdog and people watching, it's like the pending arrival of Gracie has given me a new sensitivity to notice people with disabilities. I equate it to when I first got a Jeep – I never really noticed how many Jeeps are actually out there on the road until I started driving one myself. Jeeps are everywhere. There are new jeeps – old jeeps – some that barely run - and some that run so smooth, you'd swear it's a luxury vehicle. I like Jeeps – when you have one, you can pretty much do everything you can do in any other car on the road – My buddy Steve has this real old military Jeep at the cabin – Sure, it sticks out a bit and if you took it out on the highway, it won't go as fast as the other cars - but you can drive it around town pretty much just like any other vehicle. Some people stare when they watch him try to start it (flip the battery, turn the key, step on a button on the floor while giving it just enough gas) -- They don't understand how it works because it's so different than how they're used to doing it. Others stare with envy because riding around in it is so much fun. The good thing is unlike the Jeep – the other vehicles can't take the top off and more than likely have to think twice before leaving the paved road and driving through the woods. I'm guessing having Gracie will be a lot like if we let Lylli drive Steve's Jeep at the cabin – We'll do what we can to stay close to the paved roads and probably be on them at times, but we will also probably spend a lot of time in the woods, but that's OK -- It's a Jeep and we'll probably have more fun that way anyway.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Not just a new chapter, but a whole different book

After receiving the news that our unborn daughter, Gracie, has Down Syndrome, I find myself feeling like, and have been told by others that, I need to grieve, but I just can't. I see the sorrow in the eyes in almost everybody that I tell - but it truly is unnecessary. We are so lucky that we have been chosen to receive this gift. Every person that I've spoken to that has become the parent of a child with DS has told me that it's the best thing that has ever happened to them. Explain to me how this should be sad? I think about how much she will teach us and our other daughter Lylli about compassion and understanding and about inclusion. I look forward to the endless number of things that she will teach us every day. I know she will help me to become a more patient and better father - husband - man. She has already brought my wife and I much closer than we were before. I think of the book Tuesdays with Morrie where he paraphrases Mark Twain's saying ""Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth." Mitch Albom scheduled weekly visits to meet with a dying old college professer to get this wisdom. Wisdom that every parent spends their lives trying to instill in their children. I don't dance, I'll admit life experiences have given me a tentative heart, I only sing if I've had a few beers, and I often find myself not living my life as I should. I know I'm stereo-typing here, but I will tell you -- if you really want to see the living, breathing version of that Mark Twain saying, go to a summer camp for teens with Down Syndrome on the Beach Party Karaoke Night Dance and you will see exactly what he means. I've known for three days that Gracie has Down Syndrome and she is already teaching me. Yes, our life has changed and will no doubt be different, but if this baby makes it (and that may still take a miracle), I'm pretty sure its going to be better than I anticipated.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Emily Perl Kingsley.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.