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Last weekend was one for the Smith family record books. We took Noah to Houston for his first ever vacation…!
We went to Houston to visit some of our best friends, and meet a family that would become our new best friends.
When Noah was born we were put in touch with The Skagg Family. The Skaggs are from Houston and attend the same church (Houston’s First Baptist Church) Abbie and I were members of when we lived there. They have a three year old son, Seth, who like our son, was born with Down Syndrome.
When Noah was born we were scared, nervous, excited, and confused all rolled into one. One of the main things we desperately wanted was a look into the future. We wanted to know what our family would be like. Would we ever be “normal” again? Would things ever be “ok” again? What was “ok” anyway? We had no idea.
You wouldn’t believe the number of weird, sappy books people gave us. I know they were just trying to help, but sad and sappy books was not what we wanted. What we wanted was to “know” what our family was going to look like form this point forward. ——> Enter, The Skaggs.
As soon as we connected with them we became their Facebook stalkers. They posted videos of their family on Facebook, and we consumed every one of them. I remember in vivid detail watching one of their videos where Seth was playing The Michael Jackson Experience game on the Wii. I sat in our house after everyone had gone to bed, and I watched that video over, and over again. He was dancing. Having fun. Being normal! (Yes, normal! Not just because he was dancing, but because he was playing The Michael Jackson Experience on the Wii! I’m not even really sure why that was such a big deal to me, but there was just something about him dancing to Michael Jackson that seemed normal to me. In fact, I’ll say that God used Michael Jackson in that moment to bless me….!) I remember my heart exploding with joy, and saying to Abbie (my wife), “Wow…look at Seth playing the Wii! I can’t wait until Noah can play the Wii!” I’m also pretty sure I wept with joy that night. It was that moment, after watching that video, I realized that things were going to be much more normal then un-norma. That night that little three year old I had never met, blessed me more then he’ll ever know.
As the weeks passed we seriously checked their Facebook almost every day (yah, I know, we’re strange.) I would say to Abbie, “Hey did you see Seth’s new video?” And my wife would come home from work and say the same to me. We watched Seth play in the sandbox, build some sort of awesome fort in his backyard, play with his little sister, and do lots of other typical three-year-old stuff. We loved it…! In fact we fell in love with their family. (It wasn’t a 100% online (weird) romance though…we actually talked back and forth with them – so we aren’t that weird!) In fact, they are the inspiration for this website. I’m not sure I can ever express to the Skaggs what those videos did for my wife and I. Their videos meant so much to us, and I wanted to return the favor. My hope is that other families “out there” will stumble upon this site, and find the same hope and encouragement through Noah’s videos as we did from Seths’.
This reason this vacation was a big one was not because it was Noah’s first vacation, but because we finally got to hang out with the Skaggs!!! They let us spend the entire day at their house. The nicknamed their house the “Fun House,” and a Fun House it was! They seriously have the kind of family Abbie and I long to have. The joy of Christ shined all throughout that entire house…It was awesome! They shared their entire family with us. We laughed.
We I cried. (I’m such a baby.) We talked. We ate. We hugged. We played. We spent the day without physical therapy appointments, and worries about what the results of the next test would be. We simply spent the day being normal. And we left from that fun house with hearts deeply full of joy.
I hope you enjoy some pictures of our weekend, and the special day we had at the Skaggs house. I also want to invite you to check out their blog, and read about Seth’s miracle ear! It’s truly one of the most amazing stories I’ve ever heard! You have to check it out…!