when I am asked how I do it, how do I split my time up between all the needs of all my family members, and how do I manage to be mommy to the other girls while devoting so much of my attention to Kendall, the one I worry about the least is Karissa. She is seriously the world’s most easygoing kid. Always has been. She embodies sweetness itself. She needs attention and love and sensory input like no one I’ve ever known, but she soaks it up like a sponge. She doesn’t need to have a long conversation with you, she just needs to sit next to you and literally ABSORB you, the essence of you. That’s all she asks. Just sit by her.
She can be the loudest one in the house when she’s being tickled or when kealey has pushed one too many of her buttons (which happens with alarming regularity), but for the most part, she’s just my happy quiet kid along for whatever ride we may be on that day.
What you may not know about Karissa is that she actually had a lot of health issues her first few years – she had a near total loss of hearing in both ears, was developmentally delayed, had nonstop ear infections and horrid UTI’s, multiple head injuries (because she inherited her mother’s superklutz genes) – but she was still just a super happy smiley baby!
Even now, as she wears bifocals to see, has an expander appliance in her mouth slowly widening her jaw every day, wears a Hannibal-Lecteresque headgear every night, struggles to read and comprehend words that “squiggle”, and is usually one big bruise from head to toe, you will rarely see her without a smile on her face.
She makes my job easy by not requiring much of me. She loves unconditionally and asks for nothing in return, except a few hugs and all your love.
She is a beautiful dancer and always has been. This probably came because when she was little and couldn’t really “hear” the TV, she “felt” the TV. She would put her hand on the speakers in the front of the TV, or put her ear on the ground near the TV. And now if there is any music on, she is dancing to it. She is dancing this year with girls 3-4 years older than she is. It is so tough for her to keep up – but she’s doing it! She is struggling in her classes because of an unidentified learning disability (something like dyslexia but the school doesn’t recognize that as a diagnosis so we feel lost as to how to help her) – but she’s doing it! She gets frustrated at herself, sure, but she just keeps going.
I don’t know how to tell you about Karissa. She’s just awesome. She is amazing and loving and I’m so scared that she will get into a scary van with any man offering her candy because she has ZERO common sense and she loves and trusts everyone – but she’s all mine. She sometimes comes and sneaks into bed with me on nights when Ben is traveling and it’s just because she needs to be near me. She has the hugest heart and the craziest imagination. I wrote this story on facebook last year in December and it just sums up Karissa – her loving heart, her concern for others, her all-around awesomeness:
Overflowing with Christmas Spirit right now. We were walking into WalMart to get a few groceries, and karissa said “does that lady who rings the bell stay warm?” Very concerned for the Salvation Army bell ringer. We stopped to ask her how she was and she said her feet were freezing, she had been out there for 8 hours. Karissa asked in her small voice if we had enough money to get her some warm fuzzy boots when we were inside the doors. I wanted to say no- I need to buy Christmas for my own babies, let alone get food for them, and I have been wanting new slippers for the hospital stays myself. A million reasons to be selfish. But I told her we could get some. Karissa just about broke into a run towards the shoe section, picked out some nice warm fuzzy boots for the lady and hurried us through our shopping. On our way out she handed the lady the bag with the shoes in it and said “I just want you to have warm feet and have a Merry Christmas”. Somedays- I screw everything up as a mom. And somedays I thank God that I must be doing something right.
I don’t know how I got so lucky with this one, but I’m so glad I did.
Love you boogerton. Just keep swimming.