On August 28, 1999 Lisa Rakowski became Lisa Rakowski Mistkowski! With a name like that we should have known right from the “get go” that we were going to have a very interesting journey together. THAT, my friends, was a huge understatement!
I’m going to share a story that I’ve not told to anyone other than a few close friends.
We had just moved to NJ from MA in the summer of 2004. My daughter Lauren had celebrated her 3rd birthday and we found out that Lisa was pregnant with our second child.
Naturally, we were both very excited! However, we quickly found out that this was not going to be a normal pregnancy.
A lot of my life was a blur, but the next sequence of events I remember vividly.
On Tuesday, Lisa called me on her way home from her doctor's appointment. She was crying hysterically. I told her to calm down and meet me on the way home for lunch at the Blackhorse in Mendham. I don’t remember much about the lunch, but she was very concerned and very upset.
The results of the test showed that it was “highly likely” that we were going to have a baby boy with down syndrome!
The rest is a blur, other than the fact, that I thought “OK, WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A BABY BOY WITH DOWN SYNDROME!” Lisa wasn’t taking it quite as well as I was. For some reason, I wasn’t phased by this at all. I was scared, nervous, but we were having a BABY! 🙂
Friday, February 11 2005 was just another day. Or so I thought!
Lisa was out shopping. It was dinner time and I was playing with Lauren. I remember the exact location where we were playing when I got a phone call from the doctor’s office…
“Hello, this is Dr ??? office, can I please speak with Lisa Mistkowski?”
“She’s not here now, can I please take a message?”
“Can you please tell her that her appointment for her procedure is set for Friday, February 18th”
“She’ll know what this is in reference to. Thank you. Have a nice weekend.”
I hung up and time stood still.
Lisa came home and I told her about the phone call and looked at her to clarify things for me? I asked her about “the procedure”? She looked at me and saw how upset I was and told me that they made some sort of mistake. They must have assumed she was having “a procedure”. The subject never came up again.
On July 27, 2005, our baby boy, Matthew Richard Mistkowski was born. He was born with Down syndrome, but that didn’t matter to us. He was PERFECT in every way!
On November 16, 2016 we lost Lisa to cancer, but that young man touched her in a way that I will never truly understand. But I know he changed her life in so many ways!
Today, Matthew Richard Mistkowski is 18 years old and a big reason for millions of smiles from so many people!
Having a child with special needs is not easy. But Lisa and I were blessed with a truly amazing young man who has his whole life ahead of him.
And that, my friends, is why I do what I do. My commitment to kids, young adults, adults, parents and organizations to help support Down syndrome is something that I will do for the rest of my life! I want to make sure that others get to experience the pure joy that Mattie has brought to so many people's lives!
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