Wednesday, June 26, 2019

A New Post With Uncle Doug & Our Time At New Smyrna Beach

Hello and happy Wednesday, friends! I have an extra special post coming y'alls way today :) If you've been around here since Christmas of last year, you may remember I shared a post all about my Uncle Doug! Doug has Down syndrome and holds an extra special place in my heart (and the hearts of many others as well). He turned sixty years old this past Christmas Day. If you missed the post and would like to "meet Doug", I'll link it here

After sharing this post back in December, I knew that Doug would be able to put a smile on a lot of faces. But I never knew, when hitting "publish" on that post, just how many he would touch. Through Doug's post, I, and especially my grandmother, felt so fortunate to receive many DMs, comments and emails to hear just how much Doug touched the hearts of others, just by seeing his smile, and we also had the pleasure to learn about other individuals with Down Syndrome in y'alls lives. How special! I have to say that it was also highly requested to see more of Uncle Doug on here, and I can't blame those of you who requested it one bit :) So, I guess I could say...back by popular demand, here's another post all about my Uncle Doug!  

A New Post With Uncle Doug - A story about my Uncle who has Down Syndrome in New Smyrna Beach, FL. - Something Delightful Blog
A New Post With Uncle Doug - A story about my Uncle who has Down Syndrome in New Smyrna Beach, FL. - Something Delightful Blog

Y'all may also know that we recently spent some time in our very favorite place, New Smyrna Beach, FL. I have spoke of NSB countless times on here. It has been a vacation spot for my family for as long as I can remember. My grandmother grew up going to NSB, and had relatives who lived there for many many years. New Smyrna is just that place for us. Over all the years we have been going there, yes, we have all grown up, we are not all able to be there all at the same time as we once were able to do, we have all changed in some ways or another, but New Smyrna Beach never seems to change! The drive down South Atlantic Avenue looks exactly the same as it did years ago. Pretty much all the same restaurants still there after 20+ years. Flagler Avenue remains exactly the same, for the most part. The pink draw bridge, is still that exciting sight to experience (but now, for Madeline). The lifeguard stand we pass by on our beach walks continues to bring back that same picture in my head as it always has (if you want to read more on the lifeguard stand, see this post!). And more! 

But what's even more special about New Smyrna Beach, itself, are the people I have made those memories with while there each year. Let me just say, Uncle Doug is a world traveler! He has traveled to more places than I probably ever will in my lifetime. But of all the places he's seen, all the countries he's been to, all the plane rides, cruise ships, and more that he has been on, New Smyrna Beach remains his favorite place of all. And that right there is a huge part of why NSB is so special to me! Its makes me think of Doug. 

A New Post With Uncle Doug - A story about my Uncle who has Down Syndrome in New Smyrna Beach, FL. - Something Delightful Blog
A New Post With Uncle Doug - A story about my Uncle who has Down Syndrome in New Smyrna Beach, FL. - Something Delightful Blog

When I think on NSB, I picture Doug sitting at the waters edge, enjoying the water hitting his feet, while he giggles with a grin on his face seeming as large as the ocean itself! I think of him sitting on the porch enjoying the sight of God's amazing creation while enjoying his morning coffee. I can hear him singing the "Shrimp Boat Song". Him collecting shells to give to my grandmother (his precious Mama). I think of him making sure to let everyone know he would be having "shrimp and sweet tea" for dinner that night. And much, much more. 

A New Post With Uncle Doug - A story about my Uncle who has Down Syndrome in New Smyrna Beach, FL. - Something Delightful Blog
A New Post With Uncle Doug - A story about my Uncle who has Down Syndrome in New Smyrna Beach, FL. - Something Delightful Blog

I also knew way before our vacation this summer that I wanted to take photos with Doug and write another post with him. Let me just say, Doug is very particular about his clothes! I asked if he would be alright with me picking out an outfit for him to wear for our photos. Y'all know how I appreciate a good coordinating outfit haha! I asked Doug if he would like to coordinate with me and Madeline. We picked out his look for these photos, and when my Grandmother took it to him to try it on, he didn't want to take it off! He loves anything that reminds him of the beach, and this shirt did just that for him. I have to say, he's looking oh-so-handsome :) But I'm also pretty sure Doug portrays the saying very well of, "You're never fully dressed without a smile" in the words of Annie. 

A New Post With Uncle Doug - A story about my Uncle who has Down Syndrome in New Smyrna Beach, FL. - Something Delightful Blog

I also thought I would give y'all a little update on Doug. Doug has been through quite a lot since the post I shared with him back around Christmas of last year. In January, Doug suffered from a seizure. He (with my grandmother by his side, of course) were in the hospital for days. He has had lots of therapy, meditation changes, and just many changes/adjustments overall, since this occurrence. But I have to say, Doug is a fighter! His strength and determination has been something miraculous to see! His continuing smile everyday has truly been such a beautiful testimony of God's goodness through it all. And most of all, the way the Lord has answered so many countless prayers for Doug over these past few months has left me saying, "wow, Lord, you are able." One of the things that Doug's therapist recommended to help with him regaining his balance is dancing with him. I have to say him smiling and giggling through dancing to Louis Armstrong is one of mine and Madeline's favorite things to do with Doug these days :)

A New Post With Uncle Doug - A story about my Uncle who has Down Syndrome in New Smyrna Beach, FL. - Something Delightful Blog
A New Post With Uncle Doug - A story about my Uncle who has Down Syndrome in New Smyrna Beach, FL. - Something Delightful Blog
A New Post With Uncle Doug - A story about my Uncle who has Down Syndrome in New Smyrna Beach, FL. - Something Delightful Blog

I also have to say, if these photos aren't enough proof, that Madeline and Jaycee are absolutely crazy about Doug! And Doug is the same about them. Madeline has such a sweet, sensitive spot in her heart for Doug which has been so special to see. She is always ready to play with him, dance with him, talk with him and especially ready to help him. She can also get Doug smiling unlike any other! And I've always felt that Jaycee senses Doug's tender, loving spirit which instantly draws her to him. She is always ready to shower him with kisses! He gets her tail wagging unlike any other :)

A New Post With Uncle Doug - A story about my Uncle who has Down Syndrome in New Smyrna Beach, FL. - Something Delightful Blog
A New Post With Uncle Doug - A story about my Uncle who has Down Syndrome in New Smyrna Beach, FL. - Something Delightful Blog

Something else I often hear when people see Madeline's love for Doug, or see how loved Doug is, is "you have taught Madeline so well" or "I can tell you grew up being taught to have a heart for those with special needs". But I am always quick to say, no, it is Doug who has taught me. And Doug who has taught Madeline. I truly believe that we are taught most by those who may not know they are actually teaching us - just being an example and a light by simply being there. What an absolute privilege and absolute honor it is to be taught by Doug. He has taught me patience, shown me true love, is a reminder to celebrate even the littlest of things, to remain smiling no matter what's going on, and most of all, is such an example of God's love for us. He is truly an angel! And with that, Doug has taught me. Doug has taught Madeline. My grandmother has always told me to think on Hebrews 13:2: Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

A New Post With Uncle Doug - A story about my Uncle who has Down Syndrome in New Smyrna Beach, FL. - Something Delightful Blog
A New Post With Uncle Doug - A story about my Uncle who has Down Syndrome in New Smyrna Beach, FL. - Something Delightful Blog

After the wonderful time spent at New Smyrna Beach this year, my heart is left SO full, so very full. I am beyond grateful for the memories I have from NSB growing up and for the new memories I've made this year. From beach walks with my Dandaddy. closing our eyes and counting our steps to see where we end up (which Madeline LOVED doing this year!) to learning how to swim in the pool there (which Madeline did this year as well), New Smyrna will forever hold a special place in my heart. When it was time to leave this year, not going to lie, I cried a little. With so many childhood memories there and making new memories with Madeline there now, I always hate to see our time there come to an end. And when it was time to get in the car and leave, Doug held on tightly to the column of the building, which said so much about how he felt with leaving as well. But I always have to remind myself, don't cry because it'e over, smile because it happened! 

A New Post With Uncle Doug - A story about my Uncle who has Down Syndrome in New Smyrna Beach, FL. - Something Delightful Blog

During our time at NSB, Doug smiled so big and laughed harder than I have ever heard him laugh, it seems. Which is a wonderful way to look back on our trip. It's almost as if each year, New Smyrna whispers "I'll hold on to these memories for you and see you next year to make more". I pray that we will all be here again as a family next year. I thank the Lord for the fun, special time we spent there and especially for being able to experience it all with my precious Uncle Doug! I love you, Doug.

I truly hope that through this post and my last post on Doug, he will touch your heart and bring a smile to your face. If you are having a bad day, just think of Doug's smile. I wish each and everyone of you could receive a big Doug hug :) They're the best of all!

Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to read, friends! If you have someone special like this in your life, I'd love to hear :)

Delightfully Yours,

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