thoughts during a thunderstorm

Two of my cousins had a baby today.

One of them, my cousin Rob and his wife Marseille, called me tonight to let me know that their sweet daughter was born with a cleft pallet.

As you can imagine, I have a lot of thoughts and emotions going through my head. I couldn’t believe it. They said to me, over and over, that it was like lightening striking, and it could happen to anyone. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that Anyone was our family 10 months ago, and now again,  my cousin’s family.  I’m sure that everything will turn out fine with them, just like it has with us–that they’ll slowly get used to all that will come their way, and that it will become simply their life, and they will joy in it just like they have thus far. I certainly have. Tiny and her little package of experiences have changed and shaped my life in a way that I treasure. She has sent her sweet tendrils deep into my heart, and I’ve been blessed with so many precious experiences that I wouldn’t change for the world.

I have been thinking about a blog post I read somewhere about how having special needs children is a lot like planning a trip to Europe and instead, landing in Holland. I can’t find the post I read, but here’s the same idea  (maybe the original?)  This analogy couldn’t be more spot on, and more than anything tonight, I want to hug my cousin and his wife and say along that same vein: Holland is more amazing then you can dream of, and you’ll love it. Just be patient for a while during the learning phase, and allow yourself any emotion that turns up–you’ll find all the peace you need in the end. 

After 10 months, 4 almost 5 surgeries, and 9 months (and counting) of a feeding tube, we’re still learning about Tiny’s condition ourselves.  She obviously has had more problems than just the cleft, but in the end I consider myself one of the lucky ones. And I’ve come to be okay with whatever her future might be.  I know now, that it will be a happy one.  She will be happy, because she has a strong spirit and a family who loves her.

My heart is with Rob and Marseille and their family tonight. I know how much it can be to take everything  in, and to try and make sense of it all. I feel certain that our girls must have been friends in heaven, and I hope that we can help her and her family by offering them whatever support and help we can–having so recently tread the same mile.  I know that this special little girl couldn’t be born into a more wonderful family.  I’m sure, like my Tiny, that she’ll knock their socks off with spirit and sparkle.



How wonderful for your cousins to have someone who has been there to share their experience with. I’m so proud of you for finding the joy in the new normal. You will never know the extent to which your very personal choices affect others in very positive ways.

Marian Hertzog

Blessings for you and your family… I first read your blog post from last year about paper beads and found you to be so funny and interesting I had to see what you were up to today. Sad for your cousin and you but I know that your journey makes you deep and wise. Your little Harper is a sweet and beautiful baby! Prayers and blessings for you for sure.

Emily Balling

Marseille as you told me was an angel for you through this, and now you are an angel for them. And you must be just right, your two daughters were and are angel friends.


My son was officially diagnosed with Autism last week. Reading this, and the Holland analogy, really meant a lot to me. Sometimes I want Italy so much I could just cry (and do), but I also know I wouldn’t trade my trip to Holland for anything. Thanks for reminding all of us how lucky we are.


Melissa, this comment is FAR overdue, but I was thinking about you and your comment today, and it occurred to me that I never replied! My heart is with you, and I hope that you have had all the support and love that you’ve needed to help you carry your load. I know that you are and will be a wonderful to your son, and that he’s lucky to have someone so wonderful to love and raise him. Thanks for your sweet comment (now almost two months ago!) xo!

the mither

oh my, love and blessings to all families with special needs children. No one can fully know what any of you are going through, but from afar we can certainly see you transcend from wonderful people to INCREDIBLY wonderful people!

It’s kind of like a transformer. The little car, or whatever it starts out as is pretty cool, but low and behold with a twist here and a tweak there, it turns into a superjet robot! When we lay ourselves into the hand of God, and allow Him to Transform us through the life lessons He sends us, we become something beyond anything we could ever imagine.

Thankfully we don’t know the future, or else we’d never have the courage to take it on. But looking back, we can see how step by step we have been led (and sometimes carried) to places we would have never dreamed of.


Thank you for this sweet post Mim! I’m so glad you happened to be in the same hospital and were able to visit us. It is so nice to have someone who has been down this road before to turn to. i love your Holland analogy.

Beth M. Stephenson

I love all the comments. A bit over 32 years ago, my first child was born with a cleft lip and palate. In the moment of astonishment as I tried to absorb the new tilt of the universe, I had the powerful sense that my Heavenly Father had given me a tremendous honor in trusting this child into my care and keeping. I felt overwhelmed by His love and His keen interest in that tender spirit. Since that time, I have learned that God gives us exactly what we need to develop our spirits so that we can fulfill our life’s mission. “Disablities” develop and teach us. They help us to prioritize our lives. The protect us from some types of temptations. I now know that those physical problems that my wonderful girl has endured were a gift to her and a gift to all her family. If I ever cared about what strangers think, or believed appearance to be important, that idea was stamped out of me. I learned to my core that the Lord looketh upon the heart and the more that I can do that, too, the happier I am. God bless you and Harper and Makayla and every one of us that walks a difficult path.


I was born with a cleft pallet and from personal experience it never gave me trouble nor did it stop me from doing or achieving anything (though I’m sure my poor mum would seriously disagree with me about the “troubles” that arose from the condition, that woman has serious patience). I’d say the most important thing is one that you folks have clearly already grasped; that you and all the rest of the family support your pretty kids and that you don’t view it as an insurmountable calamity.

As it is I’ve grown up happy and relatively healthy if a bit underweight for my grandmother’s taste, and I’ve no doubt that the children of your family will grow to be far more driven and brilliant people and that nothing will faze their hardy little souls


I just want to share I was a baby born with a cleft lip and palate. I wish them the very best, I know it caused so much heartbreak and tears for my parents! Best wishes to them, I know the early years are so difficult but I can say of all the deformities I could have had, this one has been the best for me – most of my surgeries I don’t remember, and I have grown up totally normal, now have a child of my own with no cleft (the chances aren’t that much higher for my children), and most people don’t even know I have ever dealt with that issue! I would LOVE to share hope or my information with them, just send me an email if they are interested.


My little girlie had a cleft too, so I know how much comfort talking to people who have experienced similar things.. Thank you for you sweet comment, I will definitely let them know!


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