A view into the life of a family who encountered a different future than expected, but has become all the richer for it.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Prayer

I was recently privileged to sing "The Prayer" with my little brother, Alan, and wanted to share the video with my blogging family.  Even though Alan is my little brother, there is nothing little about his voice!  He was blessed with a beautiful tenor voice.

I hope you will take time from your busy day to soak in this song.  May it bless you and remind you that God loves you!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Magic Moments Family Camp

Memorial Day weekend wasn't just a special weekend for us this year because we spent it together, but it was extra-special because we were invited to spend the weekend at Children's Harbor on Lake Martin in Alabama.  Because Victoria was granted a wish by the charitable organization Magic Moments this past February, every Memorial Day weekend until she is 18-years-old, she (and our family) will be invited to the Magic Moments Family Camp at Children's Harbor.  Magic Moments already holds a special place in our hearts because of the wonderful, all-expense paid family vacation we were given in February of this year.  But, we are beginning to see that this group of folks will be a blessing to our family for many years to come!

Upon arriving at Children's Harbor, we could tell that this campground was among the best we had ever stayed.  It was a beautiful place.  Right on Lake Martin, there were lush little patches of beautiful flowers and trees everywhere.  Everything was so clean and lovely.  We made our way to the registration area where we were greeted by camp counselors who knew us by name.  I was impressed already.  All of the staff and counselors associated with Magic Moments were so wonderful to us and wanted us to feel right at home.

We found our way to our cabin.  We had a wonderfully, large room with a fold-out couch, two twin beds, a bunk bed, and our own bathroom.  We were thrilled at the space we had.  It was going to be a fun adventure to have our entire family sleep all in the same room for the next few days!

First on the list of things to do was swimming, of course!  The girls loved the large pool!  Victoria is a bit frustrating to deal with in a pool because she "thinks" she can swim (which, she can't!).  She had floaties on her arms, but if we let go of her, she sinks just enough to get a mouthful of water.  She fussed the entire time that we tried to help her stay afloat.  But, even though she fussed and was frustrated, she had a fun time.  By the end of our stay at the camp, Victoria worked her way up to going down the big slide at the pool.  I'm telling you, the girl has no fear!  Mark stood at the bottom of the slide to catch her.  She must've gone down that slide 50 times, at least in the 3 days we were there!  She loved it!

The second day of Family Camp, the morning started off with a worship service.  The service was held outside.  It was such a beautiful day and I was in tears for most of the service.  I was able to sit behind the singers and speaker and could view all of the families sitting with their "special" children.  It was overwhelming to think that each of the families sitting in front of me had experienced similar or even more difficult circumstances than our family had experienced.  And, through it all ... I knew that God had been faithful to us all.

After the worship service, we made our way over to the corral.  Victoria worked up enough nerve to ride a horse!  She has always refused to ride a horse when given the opportunity in the past, but at this camp ... she was ready to go!  Elyssa and Natalie enjoyed riding the horses, as well.  It was especially moving to see all of the handicapped kids being hoisted up onto the horses so they could enjoy a ride.  Everything was very inclusive.  The workers made sure every kid had the opportunity to take part in every activity, which I thought was amazing!

A really special part of Family Camp was the talent show that was held the evening of the 2nd day.  At the talent show, Elyssa, Natalie, and Victoria came up on the stage with me and we sang, "She Is God's Child," together.  I didn't show the video to the song because there were no video screens available, but the song was still moving none-the-less.  Natalie even became emotional at the end of the song, which was very sweet.  She is so tender-hearted and still gets sad at the thought of Victoria having to have heart surgery when she was 7-weeks-old.  I loved singing with my girls!  I was touched, as well, by all of the special needs kids sharing their talents in the show.  It was very sweet.

I could share many more things about the camp, but the thing that touched me most of all at Family Camp was the Awards Ceremony.  On the last day of the camp, the organizer of the camp made her way to the stage.  She called each child, individually, to the stage.  Once each child made their way to the stage, in turn, the speaker talked about each child as they stood in front of the audience.  She talked about their strengths and the fun things they enjoyed doing at camp this year.  She awarded each child with a specially named certificate (award) before they left the stage.  Again, I was in tears for most of this ceremony.  It was so moving to see kids wheel themselves on the stage ... or walk onto the stage with braces on their legs ... or even walk onto the stage with no hair because of chemo treatments.  And, then ... once on stage ... they were told in front of the entire crowd how special they were.  It was one of the most moving things I've ever seen.  I almost can't describe how full my heart felt when Victoria was called up to the stage to receive her award.  There is no feeling in the world like knowing that your child is loved and appreciated even though they are "different" than typical kids.  Every family with a "special" child desires for their child to be accepted and truly loved.  You never quite get use to the stares in public places and you never get use to people telling you what they think your child "won't" be able to do.  But, wow ... to be in a place where your child is loved on and encouraged to aim for the stars ... it is a wonderful thing.

So, I end this blog by first of all saying ... THANK YOU, MAGIC MOMENTS!  I know there are so many folks who give to this organization, volunteer, and work for this organization.  I want all of you to know that THIS family doesn't take for granted what you do!  We felt so blessed to have been given a Wish Trip this year and on top of that, we were able to enjoy a wonderful weekend at Magic Moments Family Camp.  Thank you for giving of yourselves to bless families like mine.  We are forever grateful!

Secondly, I want to thank the Lord for blessing me with a wonderful husband with whom I was able to have three sweet girls!!  Little did Mark and I know that all three of our girls would hold such special places in our hearts.  And, YES ... we were overwhelmed when we first had Victoria, but we have learned to live day by day.  Appreciating every bit of progress that Victoria makes.  And, we love seeing Elyssa and Natalie love on their sister.  Life has become "normal" for us.  I never thought we would get to this place, but God knew that we could handle a life that seems out of the ordinary to most people.  For us ... we just feel blessed!

PS - Check out the video of me and the girls singing "She Is God's Child" LIVE on YouTube.  Just type in the name Heather Messick and you'll find it.  You can also view a video of Victoria receiving her special award on the last day of Family Camp.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Day 3 - The Most Magical Day Of All!

Today was the most magical day of all ... for many reasons!  First of all, it was the day that we visited Disney's Magic Kingdom!  What isn't magical about that?

Secondly, my brother, Alan Fath, and his daughter, Gracie, were able to spend the entire day with us! And, lastly ... I was able to see some sweet friends that formerly attended University of Mobile who now work at Magic Kingdom.  It was a fun day!
It all started out with us arriving early to see the opening show at Magic Kingdom.  As soon as the gates opened up, we headed over to Town Hall to get a picture with Mickey and Minnie.  That was really fun!  After that, we left and went straight to the new section of Magic Kingdom ... Fantasy Land.
We met up with Colton Brooks at the entrance of Belle's Castle where he escorted us right up to the front of the line to see that cute little interactive show.  (Thanks, Colton!  It was great to see you!) 
Natalie decided to give roller coasters another try today and rode Goofy's Barn Stormer with me.  She did much better on that roller coaster! 

We went through as much of the left-hand side of the park as we could before lunch.  And, of course, we would stop at every character spot for photos and autographs!  Man, it was great being taken right up to the characters for that meet and greet time!  No waiting in long lines!

For lunch, we headed, by boat, to the Wilderness Lodge for lunch with the family at Whispering Canyon.  That was lots of fun and a nice change of pace.
After lunch, we took the boat back to Magic Kingdom to meet a sweet friend from University of Mobile, Caleb Graham.  He is VERY good friends with Prince Eric and arranged a special "meet and greet" time with some characters for us.  He told me to have our group at the Car Barn in the Magic Kingdom by 2:30pm that day.  Someone came to get us and took us to a door located right beside the Car Barn.  As soon as Victoria and I walked through the door I heard a big, "Surprise!!!"  There had to be between 15-20 different characters waiting in the room for us.  It was, by far, the most special memory of our trip!  I had to hold back the tears because that was such a sweet moment.  All of our family got to meet every character, prince/princess in the room.  Even Mickey and Minnie were there!  They all signed our girl's autograph books and then we took several photos with all of them.  I think most of my family was in tears!  This was definitely a memory from our trip that I'll never forget!  Thank you, Caleb, for arranging that special moment for us!
The big "Celebrate" parade that all of the characters were in was to take place at 3pm, right after this meet and greet time.  We had a special area to stand in right at the start of the parade.  Every character that we had just seen gave us big waves and threw kisses our way.  The Fairy Godmother from Cinderella even threw two big handfuls of "fairy dust" on us as she passed by us on her float.  It was totally great!

We finished off as much of the park as we could that afternoon.  We ended our day at the Magic Kingdom by watching the Wishes fireworks show and also watching the Electric Parade.  It was a full, fun day!  Many special memories were made this day!  We feel blessed!
PS - I can't end this post without mentioning that we ran into the person responsible for making this special trip happen for us ... Ronnie Wright!  He was at the Magic Kingdom the same day we were so we were so excited to see him there!  Thanks, Ronnie, for all you did to make this trip a reality!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Day 2 - Magic Moments Are Still Being Made!!

Day two of our Magic Moments vacation was a day to remember!  We started out by going to Epcot where we spent the morning being able to skip all of the "regular folk" in line so we could have photos made with characters and ride attractions without all of that waiting.  It was great!
At lunch time the girls got all dolled up in their princess dresses to have a Princess Storybook Luncheon at Akershus restaurant in the country of Norway in Epcot.
After our special lunch at Akershus, we headed over to Hollywood where we enjoyed all the favorite attractions like Toy Story, the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.  I got so tickled at seeing Gaston in the Beauty and the Beast show because Gaston looked just like Mark to me!  It was uncanny!
We had a wonderful second day!  The exhaustion is just starting to set in, but we will push through it to get as much done as we can while we are here!  After all ... that is just a part of what a Disney vacation is all about!

Stay tuned ...


Saturday, February 9, 2013

"Give Kids The World" Gives Us A Fun First Day!

The Messicks have arrived in Orlando!!  We are ready to take on the city and have a blast!  We have moved into our "home away from home" and wanted you to see our cute welcome sign at our villa!

Our first day was fantastic!  It started out with a fun family visit at Give Kids The World.

My brother, Alan, his sweet wife (Mandy) and my niece (Gracie), came to visit us and view the wonderful place in which we are staying.  Have I mentioned that GKTW is awesome??  They have so many fun things for the kids to do here.  And, the workers and volunteers are so sweet!  From Victoria giving her magic star to the star fairy to knocking on a magical tree and magic pillows being made for all of our girls ... it was all a really fun experience.

The girls really loved their morning here at GKTW.  In fact, it was hard to convince them to leave after lunch to spend the rest of the day at Islands of Adventure!  They finally gave in and took our word that they would, indeed have a fun time at the theme park!

We had a great remainder of the day at Islands of Adventure.  Elyssa and Natalie rode their first kiddie roller coaster!  Elyssa loved it and well, Natalie did not.  Let's just say that Natalie will probably not get on a roller coaster for a while.  It was a lot faster than she expected.  But, she was brave to want to try it.

On the way back home from Islands of Adventure we had a little surprise in the van.  Elyssa pulled a tooth that was loose!  So, the tooth fairy is visiting our villa tonight at GKTW!

The cutest thing EVER happened tonight at our villa around bedtime!  Mrs. Merry from GKTW (the Village's Mayor's bunny wife), visited our girls!

She was all dressed in her night clothes and tucked our girls into bed.  Victoria didn't know what to think of Mrs. Merry but she did shake her hand at least once during the visit.  Mrs. Merry was great with the girls and they were laughing at her while she bounced on their beds and tossed pillows on their heads.  She kissed all of their pillows and kissed them on the foreheads before she left.  It was such a fun little visit for them.  What a great way to end a great day!

Check back tomorrow for more fun memories from our wonderful Magic Moments family vacation!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Magical Moments

Our family is beyond excited!  Victoria and our family was granted a wish through a wonderful foundation called Magic Moments.  Because Victoria had a life-threatening and life-altering illness as an infant (major heart defects that almost took her life), she was granted a wish for our entire family to visit none other than the most magical place on earth ... Walt Disney World!

We have been counting down the days and are so thrilled to be leaving on our fun adventure soon!  We will be sure to post videos and photos of the trip so we can share Victoria's first impressions of the Magic Kingdom with you!  She has never been to a place like this before so we are anxious to see how she takes to it all.

Magic Moments will be flying our family to Orlando and once in Orlando we will stay at a place called Give Kids The World.  We have heard it is wonderful!  You can find out all about GKTW at http://www.gktw.org/.  It looks like such a fun place with all sorts of great activities for all of the kids!

GKTW is providing us with three days worth of passes to the Disney Parks; we will have two days worth of passes to Universal Parks and a day at Sea World!  Can we say ... "AWESOME?!?"  And, the most wonderful part of it all is that it is completely free for our family to enjoy this fantastic vacation!  What a huge blessing!

We are so very thankful that the Lord blessed us with a great friend (Ronnie), who told us about Magic Moments and encouraged us to fill out an application for a wish.  Ronnie was so kind to come over and tell our girls the surprising news of our Walt Disney World trip recently.  Our girls were totally excited!

"Thanks Ronnie" for walking us through this process and "Thank You Magic Moments Contributors" for making this trip possible for our family!  We will never forget this experience!  And most of all, "Thank You, Lord" for once again blessing our family beyond our wildest dreams!

PS - Here is the letter that Ronnie brought our girls to read out loud the day he visited them.  It was a fun way for them to be surprised with their trip!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Natalie and Mr. Sam

Me and Natalie
Our middle daughter, Natalie, is 5-years-old.  She is a very sweet, tenderhearted little girl.  She doesn't like to see anyone in the hospital or in pain and hates to even see herself cry as a baby in our home movies.  She is very easy to discipline because by just raising your voice the slightest little bit, it causes her to get back into line and obey when she is tempted to stray.

Natalie loves to visit her daddy at the church office that he works in (Mark is the Education Pastor at our church) when we drop by during the week.  Natalie will make the rounds and visit a lot of the secretaries while we are there.  She especially loves to visit Mrs. Tammy, who is our worship pastor's secretary.  Mrs. Tammy is so sweet to my girls and always has candy at her desk to give them.
Natalie had the special joy of moving into Mrs. Tammy's Sunday School Class when she turned 5 this past January.  She has loved being in that class.  Mrs. Tammy's grown daughter, Stacey, helps in the class as well as her sweet husband, Sam.  Tammy, Sam and Stacey are all jewels and we love them dearly.
Our oldest daughter, Elyssa, with Mrs. Tammy, Mr. Sam and Stacey.  This photo was taken when Elyssa was in their Sunday School class about a year-and-a-half ago.

About a month ago, Mrs. Tammy and Mr. Sam invited our family over to their house for a swimming party and cookout.  That was the first time we had ever been to their house and we all had such a wonderful time.  Part of the reason that Mrs. Tammy wanted my girls to come over was because she wanted to ask them to pray for her as she was leaving soon for a mission trip to Brazil.  She gave them a prayer journal and asked them to draw or write prayers in it while she was on her trip.  The girls were thrilled to get their journals and couldn't wait to begin drawing and writing in them.
Elyssa and Natalie swimming with Mrs. Tammy!

Right before we left Tammy and Sam's house, Sam was telling us of a motorcycle trip that he would be going on the same time that Tammy would be on her Brazil mission trip.  As he told us of an 11-mile strip of road in Tennessee that had over 300 curves in it, I had a weird feeling within me and remember having the word "wreck" pop into my brain.  I wasn't sure why that happened and never vocalized it to anyone at the time.  I just planned to pray for both Sam and Tammy on their trips.

The next week, on a Sunday afternoon, we were having lunch with a family that we had invited over after church that morning.  After eating our lunch, the girls were left to play while the adults continued in conversation.  Mark received a text on his cell phone.  It was from our pastor's wife who informed him that Sam (who had been on his motorcycle trip with 12 or 13 other friends) was struck by a car and that Sam wasn't doing well.  He was being flighted to a hospital in Tennessee.  My mind went back to that eerie feeling I had when Sam was telling us about his motorcycle trip at the swimming party.  I felt sick to my stomach.  We immediately stopped and prayed for him and also for Tammy, who was in Brazil on her mission trip.  We didn't know all of the details, but we knew God did.  We were praying for God to be gracious and spare Sam's life.

This is a photo of all of the men who went on the motorcycle trip.
That afternoon more information came in through phone calls and texts to Mark.  We found out that Tammy was in the process of trying to fly back from Brazil to be with Sam.  We also found out that Sam was stable but that he was going to lose his left leg.  We were so sad for him, but were so thankful that his life was spared.  We knew that somehow God would give Sam and Tammy the strength to make it through this trial.

As the weeks went by, Sam continued to improve.  He had to go through several surgeries to prepare his leg to receive a prosthetic leg eventually.  We finally were able to see Mr. Sam at church when he was well enough to come.  We all gave him big hugs that first Sunday morning he came back, although I could tell that Natalie was acting very shy and scared.  She tried to smile but I could tell in her eyes that she was nervous and on the verge of tears.  It broke my heart.  As much as we wanted her to still love on Mr. Sam as she always had, I could tell this was going to be a challenge for her.

About a week ago, I was walking Natalie to her Sunday School class.  We reached the door of her classroom and I began to fill out the security form with her name on it.  Natalie was hiding behind the sign-in desk.  I just thought she was playing hide-n-seek with Mrs. Tammy, who had popped out of the room to greet us.  I handed Tammy the security form and prompted Natalie to walk in the door.  She began to cry.  I asked her what was wrong.  She told me that Mr. Sam was in the classroom and that she didn't want to go.  I hoped I could get her over her fears and talked with her in the hallway.  But, no matter how hard I tried to console her and let her know that there was nothing to be afraid of, the more she cried.  She was in a panic and couldn't even walk close to the door of the classroom.  Tammy assured me that it was okay and that we didn't need to push her to get close to Sam if she wasn't ready yet.  I wanted to cry.  I felt ashamed that Natalie was so scared of Sam now.  I had to end up leaving Natalie in the classroom next door with her younger sister once she calmed down so I could go to "big" church.

Yesterday when we went to church, Natalie was nervous about going into her Sunday School class.  I assured her that Stacey would be helping Mrs. Tammy that day instead of Mr. Sam.  Once we got to the room and once she saw that I was telling the truth about Stacy being the helper, she finally went into the classroom.  Tammy told Natalie that Mr. Sam had a special present for her and he wanted to give it to her after church.  Once the church services were over, we drove our van over to Sam and Tammy's truck.  Mr. Sam (on his crutches) and Mrs. Tammy walked up to the van where I had slid open the side door so they could see the girls inside.  Natalie quickly hopped from the middle seat, where she had been sitting, into the back seat by her older sister.  I could tell she had those nervous eyes again.  Mr. Sam talked to Natalie and told her that he had a present for her.  I urged Natalie to come to the open door so she could get the gift bag.  She quickly got the bag and then darted to the back seat again.  She began to open the gift bag.  She pulled out some candy and the cutest stuffed teddy bear that had the words "Friends Forever" sewn onto it.  Sam told me that there was a card in the bag that he wanted me to read to Natalie.  I noticed as Sam was telling me about the card that Natalie's eyes kept gazing down to Sam's shorts.  She was checking out his missing leg.  I told Natalie to thank Mr. Sam and come hug his neck.  She quickly came up and hugged his neck and told him "thank you."  She again darted to the back seat.  I thanked Sam and Tammy. When I got back into the van and closed the door, I opened the card and read it to Natalie.  These words came from my lips as tears streamed down my face:


Five weeks ago God allowed a change to happen to my outer appearance.  I know that can be hard to understand and might even be a little scary.  I thank God for this change because it was in His plan to make me a better person.  So now, I'm not just Mr. Sam; but I'm God's better Mr. Sam that even loves YOU more."

As I struggle with helping Natalie understand that she doesn't have to be scared of Mr. Sam, I realize that she has to come to terms with everything in her own time.  Sometimes I feel ashamed that my child is scared of such a sweet man because he lost his leg in an accident.  It makes me so sad.  But, I take comfort in knowing that one day (hopefully, soon) Natalie will run up to Mr. Sam without any fear because she remembers who he is on the inside.  I pray that she will get past his outward appearance that has changed and that she will cling to the man that she has always loved as a friend.

Natalie fell asleep on her teddy bear the very day Sam gave it to her.  She named the bear "Sambo" since the bear was a gift from Mr. Sam.
In closing, I am reminded of a special Bible verse that I use when speaking publicly about my special needs daughter, Victoria, who has Down syndrome. 

I Samuel 16:7
"For the Lord does not see as man sees:  for man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart."

May we all strive to love as the Lord does!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

One Proud Momma!

Victoria's Pre-K End-Of-The-Year program.

As I sat in the Pre-K classroom at Saraland Elementary School today with lots of other parents, I remember thinking, "I should've brought some tissues with me!"  The little 3, 4 and 5-year-old kids started filing into the class with their cute "handprint" t-shirts on while all of us proud parents looked on.  All of the kids went to their spots on the classroom rug and got ready for the "End-Of-The-Year" program to start.  I sat in-between Mark and my mom and I could tell we were all beaming when Victoria was the first child called up to retrieve her printed name card from the board.  She took her name card to her teacher and then she and Mrs. Moore began to spell her name out-loud together.  After she finished spelling her name, she put it back on the board and took her seat.  I felt so proud of how well Victoria followed her teacher's instructions.  That was the first of many other activities and songs that Victoria and her class performed for their audience of family members.

Mark and I have gone into Victoria's classroom this year many times and provided a "music time" for the kids.  We have gotten very attached to all of the children and have seen how much they have all progressed this year.  Most of the kids in the class have special needs.  Several of the children have autism and could barely speak at the beginning of the year.  Some children have birth defects that have delayed their learning development.  Victoria is the only child in the classroom with Down syndrome.  No matter what each child struggled with at the beginning of the year, it was exciting to see how far they had all come by the end of the school year.

I think the proudest moment for me was at the end of the program when Mrs. Moore was handing out awards.  Victoria didn't win an A Honor Roll or AB Honor Roll award.  She didn't even win a Perfect Attendance award because she has been sick a lot this year.  But, the award she did win was so special to Mark, my mom and me.  She won the "Most Well Known and Most Well Loved Child at Saraland Elementary School."  I know this to be true because when I walk Victoria down the hallway each morning to her class, almost every child we pass walking down that hallway says "hello" to Victoria.  I hear the children comment as we pass, "She is so cute" or "I just love Victoria."  Victoria takes daily walks with her aid to see the secretarial staff, principal and also the lunchroom ladies!  Everyone at the school just loves her!  It is in moments like today when Victoria received that award that I can almost look into the future and see her being voted Homecoming Queen in high school one day by her class.  She is just that lovable and special. 

What a privilege it is for me and Mark to be blessed to raise one of God's "special children."  When Victoria was first born I didn't feel that way.  I was questioning God back then ... wondering why "I" was having to go through what "I" was going through.  I was grieving and sad that Victoria wasn't "normal."  Oh how the tables have turned in my heart!  I look at Victoria every day and feel blessed to have her.  When I put her to bed every night, I look at her sweet face and I am genuinely thankful that I have the opportunity to live life with her.  Our family life with Victoria isn't without challenges, but her sweetness makes the trip down the road of life so much easier to walk.    

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Birthday Month

It is hard to believe, but our Victoria turned 4 today (March 10th)! Time has crept by in some ways and flown by in others. These past four years have been filled with many, many things. Many joys, many fears, many unexpected surprises.

We continue to learn how to best meet Victoria's needs as a special needs child and we are definitely not experts at it. We still wonder when Victoria will learn to speak clearly, but we are so thankful that she understands everything we tell her and she responds accordingly. We wonder when Victoria will develop a sense of fear that causes her to act cautiously. She still has no understanding of the fact that she could get lost if she wanders away from us. She has no understanding of the fact that she could get hurt if she climbs up on things, etc. I am yearning for the day that those things "click" inside her. It will ease much of the stress I feel these days. I know it is a matter of Victoria growing and maturing and she will eventually "get there." But, today I put aside any worries I have about raising Victoria and I just rejoice in her life and the impact that I've seen it have on others!

Something that is WAY harder for me to believe is that I will be turning 40 on March 13th! Where have those 40 years gone? That is unbelieveable! My 40 years have been filled with so many blessings! I cannot begin to count and recall all of the wonderful things that God has done for me in my life. He has been so good to me and to my family. I know there have been hard times somewhere within those 40 years, but the good far has outweighed the bad!

I'm so thankful this month for the blessings of life and for a God who never ceases to amaze me!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Tooth Hero!

Saturday night was a very exciting night at the Messick house. I was taking Victoria to the restroom before putting her to bed and Elyssa and Natalie were in their room playing. Moments later, I heard Elyssa screaming ... "Momma ... Momma!" She came running in the bathroom and blood was streaming from her mouth. I quickly got Victoria dressed and then had Elyssa lean her face over the sink so the blood could flow into the sink. I turned the faucet on and was trying to gently splash water on her mouth. I asked Elyssa what happened. She said that Natalie had kicked her in the mouth and that her tooth fell out. Her tooth had been very loose for some time now. Her tooth was barely hanging onto the gum and I told her to go ahead and grab the tooth and pull it out. It came out very easily and Elyssa placed the bloody tooth on the countertop in the bathroom. I was yelling for Mark to come to the bathroom so he could see what was going on, but he didn't come initially. He was on his phone and then was helping Natalie get some paper towels for Elyssa's mouth. I imagine, too, that he wasn't too eager to see all of the bloody goo coming from Elyssa's mouth anyway.

After Natalie brought me some paper towels, I grabbed them and told Elyssa to hold it over her gum where it was bleeding. Elyssa was pretty freaked out at seeing so much blood. She's never seen anything quite like that before. Mark eventually entered the bathroom and asked to see the tooth. We looked on the countertop and it was nowhere to be found! I knew it was there at one point because I saw Elyssa place it there. I had no idea what had happened to it. So, now that Elyssa wasn't bleeding all over the place, our attention focused on trying to find the lost tooth. I was so upset that this was Elyssa's first tooth to lose and now it was lost.

We asked Natalie if she had seen it and come to find out, Natalie picked up the tooth and placed it in the paper towels that I had grabbed to put on Elyssa's mouth. Natalie started crying when she realized that she may have lost the tooth. So, here was Natalie crying ... us searching the bathroom like crazy ... Elyssa looking in her bloody paper towel for the tooth ... Elyssa was crying because she thought she wouldn't get anything from the Tooth Fairy without her having her tooth! It was a frantic atmosphere. But, we couldn't find the tooth anywhere!

I told Mark that maybe we just needed to get over the fact that we will not be able to have a tooth to put in Elyssa's Tooth Fairy pillow. I know it sounds silly, but Mark and I were so sad that Elyssa's first ever tooth to fall out was lost forever!

I had Elyssa write the Tooth Fairy a letter. She told the Tooth Fairy that she had lost her first tooth, but she was still asking for money!

I decided to try and get the girls all in the bed and give up the search. Natalie eventually fell asleep and I had Elyssa in the bed. She had not yet fallen asleep. I was in Victoria's room patting her on the back ... trying to get her to sleep, when I heard a noise in the bathroom. It sounded like Mark was sawing the drain pipes in the bathroom off to find the tooth. I went into the bathroom, followed by Elyssa and Victoria and there was Mark with our Dyson vacuum cleaner. He had made some sort of tube contraption on the end of the vacuum cleaner and had sucked Elyssa's tooth out of the drain! He was standing there as proud as could be holding her tooth. I felt like I was looking at a hero! I couldn't believe he was able to recover the tooth. I just knew it was gone forever!

We were so excited that Elyssa was going to be able to put her tooth in her special tooth pillow that night after all! Mark is our "Tooth Hero!"

Here is a copy of Elyssa's new letter to the Tooth Fairy, after we found the tooth!