46: Amazing Amanda

46: Amazing Amanda

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Best Mom Ever!

Amazing Amanda

Marriage made you family, love made you my daughter.

~Author Unknown

Not every woman would have been as optimistic as Amanda when she learned she might have a baby with Down syndrome. Amanda took it all in stride, even when the diagnosis was confirmed. She welcomed Lilly with open arms.

When Amanda’s husband admitted some months later that he didn’t love Lilly as much as he should because she was born with a disability, Amanda moved on into the world of single parenting. Yet those who met her for the first time were still astonished at her upbeat energy and her ongoing optimism.

I met Amanda when Lilly was under a year old. From the moment I held her and she laid her sweet little head on my shoulder I was smitten. I wasn’t just smitten with Lilly, though. I was quite taken with Amanda, too. A young single mom with little money, she took a job with a bus company so Lilly could accompany her to work. In between work she juggled doctors’ appointments — there were many — as well as therapies to improve Lilly’s chances for walking and speaking. She did all this with a smile. I rarely heard her complain.

A few months later, Amanda began dating our middle son. That meant we got to spend more time with her — and Lilly, too. We came to think of them as family as we watched this amazing mother constantly put Lilly ahead of herself. She pinched pennies and worked long hours, but Lilly never went without. Amanda did her research and found resources to provide the things she couldn’t afford for her little girl. We were impressed with how she never complained and always smiled, even in the midst of frequent trips to doctors’ offices and emergency rooms. Those first years with Lilly were filled with constant health crises.

When our son Jim proposed to Amanda we were thrilled.

Today Lilly is a happy, smart, quick-witted ten-year-old. The fruits of Amanda’s — and for the past six years Jim’s, too — parenting efforts are apparent when Lilly walks into a room. Articulate and sociable, she always asks, “How’s your day?” She is so much like her wonderful mother.

Amanda’s constant optimism hasn’t wavered in the years we’ve known her. It’s contagious, and has rubbed off on so many of our family members and friends. Amanda was truly blessed with the birth of Lilly, and we’ve been blessed by the presence of both of them in our lives.

~Kimberly Ripley

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