I recommend playing Colbie Caillat's song, "Brighter Than the Sun" while reading this post.
On my very first alert, I was incredibly nervous, anxious, and worried beyond all mental capacity. Here I was in my role in the military and I'm sure my commander could sense that I was insanely nervous. When it was my first sleep shift, I tucked myself into the bed mod with that copy of Bloom and fell in love with the Hampton family. As Kelle Hampton share her family experiences, they helped calm as I did my first alerts. If you've never read Enjoying the Small Things, you're missing out. In that space, Kelle shares the trials, tribulations, joys, and laughter that her family goes through every week. Bloom is just one segment of those memories, a time that starts when Hampton gave birth to her second child, Nella. She starts her story with having the most perfect preparations in welcoming this new baby. I had never heard of anyone not only being that prepared but even having a birthing celebration in order with champagne glasses in tow. Her attention to detail and creativity was something that immediately picqued my interest. However, when her new baby was welcomed into the world she found out that little Nella had Down Syndrome. It was something that rocked Kelle to her core and kind of left her in an infantile state. Her family and friends swarmed in to create this protective layer of love and support. It was amazing to read that type of family dedication. For me family means everything so it was beautiful to see that written out in a memoir. I don't have any children, but I can imagine that anything that would create difficulties for your child or impair their development in any way would just hurt your heart.
What I appreciated about Kelle was her brutal honesty about herself. She was very upfront in how selfish she was at times and how in many circumstances she could only focus on her feelings because she had to take the time to wrap her brain around her new family dynamic. A lot of her critics dislike that about her and in reading reviews of the book before I purchased it, a lot of negative comments were written about her. Kelle touches on many similar comments in Bloom. She wrote a blog post about her happy family and how DS wasn't going to bring them down right before they took a vacation to Southern Florida. She had a difficult time enjoying that time off because of the comments that were made on that post. I also saw similar comments where people basically denounced her experience. It was almost as if people were saying because your child has x, y, z levels of DS, your experience is not reflective of my child's case of DS or what I've experienced with it. Almost as if to chastise her on her life not being difficult enough. That made me laugh. It's her memoir in which she and her family choose to look at the optimistic points in their lives. They incorporate that optimism into everyday events because they have a family and want each of their children to live life to the fullest. Should she be sad and concerned and worried all of the time? I certainly don't think so. All that does is exhaust the body and mind.
Personally I would rather spend that time enjoying what's beautiful in life. With my job, that's what we focus on. When we're off of work, we spend time with family and friends. We sit outside and admire the sunshine and we laugh a lot. Our job is exhausting and we spend more time away from our families than with them. If we didn't choose joy, we would probably have mental breakdowns. The term "embrace the suck" filters in and out of our minds, so we choose joy to combat those negative thoughts.
I love the dynamic that Kelle Hampton has with her family and I am so glad that she has chosen to share a part of that not only in the emotionally-stirring Bloom, but also in maintaining a blog. She helped me out with a different situation and I'm sure she has helped thousands of people. I am so glad that I ordered her book. I want to read it again and highlight quotes that moved me. If you haven't visited her blog, do so. Her family is adorable and like I said, she is so creative! One of my favorite "fun" posts is the Christmas party she planned.
You should read Bloom if you want a true story that inspires and teaches perseverance. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think it was a beautiful book to read at this point in my life.