Monday, August 26, 2013

Why WE Love Dakota…Aunt Jenny

I asked Zach’s sister Jenny to be a part of this birthday month because she is one of the few people besides Zach and I that have spent the most time with Dakota since his accident.

Jenny is a respitory therapist so she was comfortable with all of Dakota’s equipment and trach after the accident…so fortuantely for us (not for her) she was one of the few that could watch and help with Dakota after his accident. The thing that you have to know about Jenny is that she has the BIGGEST heart on the planet! I don’t think we ever hardly even had to ask her to come up…she was the one who was like what day can I come up and help this week? Or I have this day off so I’m gonna come up and watch Dakota for you. She serves and gives all that she has without ever asking for anything in return.

She worked nights at the hospital so that was her prime time. She spent countless nights up here at our house helping with Dakota at truly is hardest times when he wouldn’t sleep, when his condition was least stable…just because she loved us and him so much and wanted to help us through this crazy HARD physcial and emotional time in our lives.

Truly without Jenny and Zach’s parents during that first year after the accident I really don’t think we would have been able to make it. Just having a few hours break to be together alone and not have to worry about Dakota saved us individually, as a couple, and as a family!!

Jenny not only came to take care of Dakota but was ALWAYS concerned about Zach and I and making sure she could help us in ANY way possible. She would always come with something to be helpful around the house…whether it was dinner, baskets to organize all of this new medical equipment I wasn’t used to, cleaning, etc. She was there for us through every step of the way and THANK YOU will never quite do her justice!

She is an AMAZING sister, aunt, friend, mom, wife, and all around woman and I feel SO blessed to have her as my sister!!!

As you read her sweet post about Dakota…you will for sure see what I am talking about in her!!

Collage Jenny
First time Dakota got to meet Aunt Jenny

dakota blog entry  DSC_1183

Here is what she had to say:

I was excited when Tessie asked me to write about some of my favorite things about our sweet boy Dakota! I hope I don't ramble & it is not too long. She didn't give me a limit, so apologies! Let me start off by telling everyone what an aMAzing family these guys are & how much I love them. I know that SO many people read Tessie's blog & you can tell how awesome their little family is, but might not have had the pleasure of actually meeting them. I need to gush before I get to the point of this, & so you can see where Dakota gets his awesome-ness from! My brother is the HARdest worker, who gets his excellent work ethic from my parents (who are equally amazing), he is the nicest guy who would do anything for anyone, he is handsome, funny, smart, & I love him so so much. I am so lucky to have him as a brother! He is SUCH a cute dad & loves Dakota so much. He has also picked the most wonderful wife. Their differences compliment eachother & I think balance eachother out. Tessie is JUST as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. I am so glad my brother married her. She is a wonderful wife, mom, sister, & everything else you can think of. She is talented, giving, a hard worker, & such a great mom to Dakota. Her love as a mother is so admirable, & so fun to watch. She give Dakota every opportunity that other kids get. I admire that a lot, & of course think he deserves it too! We are so blessed to have her in our family. Sooo...these two AWEsome people have not one bit surprisingly created the most gorgeous, sweetest, angel-boy ever.

Dakota was my first nephew & grandchild on our side of the family. I had moved away for awhile when he was born & it was SO hard to be away from my family in general, let alone this new little bundle of joy. He was the cutest baby I had ever seen! I've always thought of him as a little "angel-boy." He & Tessie had a rough start with her emergency c-section & his heart problem, & then him being life-flighted to Primary's. He has always been such a tough kid. He has always had the sweetest little temperament, & been such a GOOD kid from a baby even into a two-year old. Always happy, always sweet, never naughty, & such good manners....When I got the phone call that our little angel-boy had been injured I was sick to my stomach. It was so awful to have them be away & not see them, give them support, & care for them. I'm so glad they were surrounded by her family, & of course my parents went out there too. I was especially worried because Dakota WAS such an angel boy that I was scared Heavenly Father wanted to take him from us & make him a little angel. I could not bear the thought of this for Zach & Tessie. Now that I have my own child, I cannot imagine the pain they must have felt during that emotionally excruciating time. It turns out Heavenly Father wanted him to be a little angel on earth with us. How blessed are we to have this sweet spirit amongst us!?

I have often thought "Why Dakota???" "Why Zach & Tessie??? They have been through so many trials! It just isn't fair!" I came across a quote the other day that reads, "God enlists his strongest soldiers for his toughest battles." How perfectly fitting to describe this whole family...I've wondered why Dakota couldn't be completely healed, & argued with Heavenly Father about it for awhile. As I was discussing this with my mom one day, she told me she thought Dakota chose to stay here. He chose to survive & go through these trials because he wanted to, for us. He wanted to stay here & teach us so many things. This really helped to heal my heart, & I truly believe it because he really IS our "angel-boy." That shows how LOVING he is. Dakota teaches us to enjoy everyday, to enjoy everyday with our families, that each moment is so precious; he teaches us PATIENCE. He is so patient with US! I am SO happy he can communicate with us as much as he can now. When they got home from Primary's I used to babysit him & I would always worry, "What does he need? What can I do to make him comfortable, happy? Am I causing him pain? Am I anNOYing him?" How awful to not be able to communicate! He's come a long way!!! SO proud of you buddy!...He shows us APPRECIATION in many ways. The sweet smile you receive when you've figured out what he wants...I appreciate my job. I'm a respiratory therapist & I had the opportunity to take care of Dakota when he came home after the hospital. I am so grateful that I was able to serve this little boy & appreciate the knowledge I've learned from my career...I realize this has been a long entry, & maybe not exactly what Tessie had intended, I just really wanted to paint a picture of how special this boy was from the start, & how wonderful I think their family is. I love you guys! So to end....

[in no particular order :)]

1. He ROCKS the faux-hawk.

2. He has the sweetest, CUTEST smile I've ever seen. When he was little it took up his whole face! A real smile. It is just as cute now, it's just a little bit softer :)

3. I love his GORgeous eyes & eyelashes.

4. I love his laugh. I love it when he laughs so hard his trach cap pops off across the room :)

5. I love to sit &; snuggle with him. He's the best.

6. I love the sound of his breathing. He sounds like a little kitty-cat purring. It is so calming & peaceful.

7. He is the sharpest dressser I know!

8. I love what a hard worker he is & how hard he tries. He has acquired so many talents from all his hard work at therapy & rehab. He rocks at rolling, he will communicate sometimes with his gorgeous eyes, he can enjoy some foods. I love to watch him tasting his yogurt or applesauce.

9. This is more of a favorite memory. We put Tater (my little boy) on Dakota's lap & said what a good big cousin he was. He got the biggest grin ever like "Yeah, I know it." It was so cute! I LOVE to see this little boy have joy. It is so special to share those sweet smiles.

10. Another favorite memory was right before his accident. We were at my parents house & they were babysitting him. We were trying- without much luck- to get him to count in Spanish (Zach taught him) or say his ABC's . It was time for bed & all of a sudden he perked up & pulling out all the stops he counted & said some ABC's as we cheered him on & then he said "again?" so sweetly & showing off, all so he could stay up late! It was so funny. My mom & I laughed hysterically!!

11. Oh & I just thought of one more :) Dakota has the best manners! When he was little instead of saying "no" Zach & Tessie taught him to say "No thank you." So it was SO funny when he was a little upset, say someone took a toy from him, he would say "No thank you! No thank you!" furrowing his little brow & an upset face. Does this give you a clue at how special & sweet a boy this is, when he is a TWO year old & says this?? He is the best!


Aunt Jenny
A collage of some of Jenny’s favorite pictures of Dakota

Thank you SO SO SO much Jenny for EVERYTHING you have done for our little family!! We love you more then you will ever know!!!

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