I am in no way, shape, or form a perfect parent. I wake up in the morning praying for more patience with my three girls. I fall asleep at night with an amended version of that same prayer on my heart — a plea for forgiveness for not being patient throughout the day added on. There are moments I thoroughly enjoy, and there are moments I could have lived without. Don’t get me wrong — I absolutely love my girls and thank God for them. But I’m not one of those parents (and please forgive me if you are) who says to their child on their birthday in a sweet, teary way, “The day you were born changed my life forever.” And while it’s absolutely true in every case, I’m not one who’s going to dwell on it.
But today I just might. 🙂
Five years ago today, my life really did change in ways I hadn’t planned for. When a couple begins to have a family, they have dreams and thoughts of what life will be like. The same was true for us. We were blessed with our oldest daughter almost seven years ago, and she was an easy baby to have around. We expected things to be relatively similar with our second child. But five years ago I spent an afternoon trying to decide if I really was in labor, and upon arrival at the hospital, our second daughter arrived into the world in swift fashion. After a few brief moments with her (and yes, I noticed she didn’t look “normal” — sadly, she wasn’t even an average-looking baby that people will kindly say is cute) she was whisked away to the NICU. I wasn’t worried; I wasn’t scared. I was a bit curious as to what was happening. Even when the team of neonatalogists came in with serious looks on their faces, muttering something about something wasn’t normal and they weren’t sure what had happened, I never doubted that we could handle whatever God had just placed into our lives.
Her name is Sarah.
Has it been easy? Oh, no. When you have a child with a rare chromosome disorder, life is different. Sarah doesn’t have major medical issues, but she doesn’t walk yet; she doesn’t talk. We don’t know when or if she’ll do either. Trips out of the house require a fair amount of planning and prep (diapers, sippy cups of milk, bags full of Cheerios, wheelchair, and more). There’s a different dance to the whole starting school process, making sure she’s getting the services she needs. Discipline is a whole different ball game. And then there’s trying to brush her teeth…
But is it rewarding? Oh, yes. Sarah is our little firecracker. She loves flashing lights and bumpy roads. She adores the Muppets. She loves music in a way that makes the band director in me beam with joy. She loves to giggle and laugh and make other people do the same. She loves her sisters and can manage to get them all in trouble. Oh, and Sarah also loves cake, which is absolutely perfect because I happen to love making cake.
How awesome is that?
This is the cake she’s waiting for — she tends to get red, white, and blue. This year had blueberry and raspberry fillings nestled between the marbled layers.
This year Sarah also got homemade ice cream. No ice cream maker required. This simple recipe may be the kick-off to some fun flavors in the future.
Magic Vanilla Ice Cream
from Cook’s Country
Shop carefully: White chocolate varies greatly in quality. We like Guittard Choc-O-Lait Chips or Ghirardelli Classic White Chips. If you use a bar instead of chips, chop it fine before melting it in step 1. If you plan to store ice cream for more than a few days, place plastic wrap directly on its surface before you freeze it.
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 ounce white chocolate chips (see note)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream
- Microwave sweetened condensed milk and white chocolate in large bowl until chocolate melts, stirring halfway, about 30 seconds. Let cool. Stir in vanilla, salt, and sour cream.
- With electric mixer on medium-high speed, whip heavy cream to soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Whisk one-third of whipped cream into white chocolate mixture. Fold remaining whipped cream into white chocolate mixture until incorporated.*
- Place in airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours or up to 2 weeks. Serve.
*This is where I added 2 Tbsp. colored sprinkles into the mixture to make it birthday ice cream. I added 1/2 Tbsp. at a time as I was stirring to get them more evenly distributed without overmixing. I also doubled the recipe with good results — it just takes a bit longer to freeze solid.