Per usual, I tried to come up with a way to relate Judah’s glorious seven months on this earth to some thing having to do with the number 7. Immediately, I was drawn to seven’s namesake “lucky number 7″…..as it would be, I then saw sevens everywhere. They tapped on my shoulder while I waited for an elevator, led me to my table, woke me up on clocks. Seven, the one number that breeds luck.
So, how does this relate to my little Bubba you ask? Oh, in so many lovely ways. If you follow me on Instagram, you have often seen me tag #theluckyfew. Legends have it, that only the lucky ones are blessed with the darlings that hold an extra chromosome. People graciously over shared this with me when I was wrenching in pain. I, not so graciously, flashed a sarcastic grin. Friends spoke of how they were enchanted by lovelies like my little. They told me how they felt slighted when their child did not hold almond eyes and squishy low tone. I didn’t get any of it. I was perplexed to say the least and downright jealous if I’m being perfectly honest. I did not see us as lucky, blessed or special. I was peppered with apprehension , questions, and a haze hung around what my new life would look like. One friend sent me a private message on Facebook. Attached was a post about a well known mommy blogger, Glennon. You can read the splendid story here. She spoke of how she was pregnant and the Dr. almost assured her that her baby would be born with Down syndrome. Her stomach was not twisted in wrenching pain like my own…she was celebrating. She believed that she was different and special so it made perfect sense that her baby would be comparable. When her son Chase was born and he did not have Down Syndrome she actually grieved the loss of the baby she thought she was going to have. How do you like that? As I read this months ago, I was in disbelief at her disappointment….But now, seven months later, it is as clear as the blue eyes I stare into everyday. People swoon over us on the street. Friends fight to get him in their arms. Strangers lock eyes with me and I swear we share a secret. So,are we lucky? Did we hit the baby jackpot?
I used to joke with Bobby that he had the worst luck (and he did/does.) If there’s dog poop on the street I swear his shoe will find it. He hits all the red lights, just misses all the good parking spots, and bumps his head going to the basement one out of six times; easily…..BUT, he gave me this baby, this pure, angelic, sweetheart of a child. Am I lucky because I have a baby with Down Syndrome? Yes, indeed I am, but I’m lucky because I have babies, period!!!.
7 months is a magic number in the baby world and yet my cup still spills over with doubt. We have passed the most crucial period for SIDS, made it through the winter, and passed a number of tests. Judah can hear and his heart doctor and neurologist never need to see him again. He also beat his thyroid test this time. Did you know we have to do it once a year because kiddos that are chromosomally enhanced also have higher risk for childhood cancer? Cue giant kick to the gut. Judah’s services have been reevaluated and he will now get PT once a week and speech and teacher services every other. So, yay for us!!! We advocated and we are crushing it……….BUT Judah still and will always need services and we will forever be advocating. Judah received a score of 100% socially (I mean, really, are you surprised?) but his expressive and receptive language still lag. We have yet to get his eyes checked. That will happen in August…So, am I lucky??? Yes, but I do carry a backpack with worry words like: nonverbal, cataract, asthma, cancer and missed milestones.
Here’s the thing about luck,( especially when your past weather pattern has carried an excess of thunder clouds…) Worry still whips through your hair. You wait for that other shoe. Luck comes with a price. You wonder if it will run out, if clouds are headed your way. You blow out every birthday candle, wish on every star and end every prayer with “please just let life be boring for awhile.” So, as much as I would like you to believe it, life is not all lollipops and rainbows….But are we lucky? Hell to the yeah we are. We hold every single pleasantry in our hands, cupped carefully, willing them to last. The good days are freaking amazing days and they come with a side of changed perception and an unblocked vision to what is paramount….and then, for dessert, people praise our little family with passionate adoration and they tell us how very lucky we are.
You left me. I knew it was creeping up behind me. I could feel the anticipated, agony breathing down my neck. I was afraid to turn around. I avoided the inevitable for as long as I could…but it came anyway, just like I knew it would. Although preparation was a the perfect handbook, this was still was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I’m certainly not a pioneer to the pain of losing a pet and I won’t be the last to cross this path either; but that truth barely dulls the pain. Only time can do that. So here I sit, time not on my side, not even close, and I am sad damn it. I own it. It means that what was ours was real, electric, special. You were the first one to enter my little family. The first to join my pilgrimage. The first one who became mine…and as you drifted, I lost a little piece of my simple self just the same.
As I held you, before you were handed some peace, I whispered lots of things to you. I urgently, uttered more I love you’s than fingers and toes could count. You had to know how much I loved you, I practiced it with vigilance. Then, through the tears, I’m the one who found some peace. I suddenly remembered, this wasn’t the end. This wasn’t forever…I told you a story. A story about how someday we would find each other and how neither one of us would have to let go ever again. I told you how I would never let time blur your memory and how we would recognize each other by our eyes. I pictured it, I hope you did too. Then, after you were gone, the tenderhearted doctors handed us a purple piece of resume paper. It displayed the story of Rainbow Bridge. I never remember reading it before but it happened to tell that same tale of us meeting one day. Fate and divinity had persevered again. They had just put on paper the exact notion that was fueling my heart in that moment…… and my feeble soul sighed in relief… You have left me but you are not gone. We shared so much how could you be?
Like how I taught you to sit ….and you taught me how to really take in a good morning snuggle.
Or how I taught you to “roll over” And you taught me that half the fun of opening presents is ripping the paper.
Or how about how I taught you to “speak.” And you taught me how to have a conversation with just our eyes.
There was me teaching you to shake and you teaching me how to be a momma for the very first time…even helping me perfect my momma sway.
I taught you “bang bang” and you taught me that we will “snap” at people for no reason….but if you nuzzle into them after, they will always forgive you.
I taught you to do high five and You taught me what is was like to be loved….Entirely, completely and without circumstance.
And…I taught you to trust me with your precious life while you solidified my faith in the unseen
My days seem to be missing something, my heart aching with void…….all because you taught me so much more than I ever taught you
It’s the day of your third birthday and I feel pensive and weepy. I can’t pinpoint the source but I’m guessing it has something to do with me loving you so much it makes my skin prickle. My love for you is fierce, little one. It alone can bring me to tears. It has and will never waiver. In a timberland of trees, my love for you is the Redwood. Rooted, strong, unstoppable.
I don’t blog about you often and it is not symbiotic with my love for you. No, that is not the case at all. The blog is called “Finding the Joy” for a reason. When your brother was born, I had to search long and hard for joy. I broke out the shovel and the head-lamp. I didn’t give up until I struck pure gold. Through blood, sweat, tears and time I was able to find that joy oh how it sings now……but with you, I never had to search. I never wondered if I could love you enough, or if the sadness would grab it’s carry on and get the hell out. With you, I checked for ten fingers and ten toes and then we let the love-fest begin.
I do what I do and I analyze both you and Judah. I question my decisions and I agonize for not getting it all right. For Judah, I hurt because his welcome into this world was a somber one. I wonder if deep in his soul he will remember, that for a little while, sadness hung like a thick fog??? With you, there is an ironic ache because it was, well, perfect. There was no celebration of health, no music made for milestones…At the time, who knew there should be? You did it all so lovely that we came to only know loveliness. During a time that seems ancient, I made you a lullaby too. When you were little and didn’t yet quite take up all of my arms, I would sing it to you. And now days, as you spill over in my embrace, I still sometimes do. I called you the bug-a-boo and one line resonates with me: “loving you is like breathing air, I couldn’t live without you there…” What I meant at the time was that I needed you like I need air. That is still so very true… but it is also so much more. Loving you is as EASY as breathing air. From your deepest depths to your flawless face I know how lucky I am to be your mom. There’s nothing quite like peering into your crystal blue eyes . I want to swim in them. I get to see those eyelashes everyday; the kind imagined when butterfly kisses were invented. I could kiss your perfectly round, rosy lips a thousand times a minute and I live to play with that squirrely blond hair, the kind that has a mind of it’s own …. And that’s just dipping my fingers in the frosting, what’s inside is even yummier…
Some days you’ll tell me you love me a hundred times and oh, my heart on those days. The smile you have when you are with your family illuminates your whole face… and the whole world. You ask for nothing more than allowing us to revel in your imaginary world. A world with lined up trains, super heroes fighting bad guys, trophies, pancakes, forts, cars, planes, castles and everything else a little boy can dream up. You take our hand and pull us, with you urging us ever-so-not- gently, saying “c’mon guys.” When work and laundry and bills pull me away from “c’mon guys” my heart already aches for the days those moments will be lost. But for now, I am the lucky one. Wonder, pure love and sweetness ooze from your every pore. So much that even your bad days sparkle a little bit.
Don’t even get me started on seeing you and your brother together. The way you just jumped right in and took that big brother role ever so seriously. You cuddle, teach, kiss, and tattle. You are so proud, so loving, so unbelievably kind it could alone cause global warming. You my dear are something special. You knew, even in the beginning when the going was tough. You knew that all would be better than okay. You too often asked why I was crying and said “its okay momma.” It is okay Calvin. It is okay because you teach me everyday how to be in love with everything you see and your soul is the purest air to breathe. I am pensive and weepy this birthday because you are so dear to me. I can’t wait to see you grow and I want you to stay the same. I miss you every second, even as I tuck you in. I am sadly sentimental because I soak you all in like a sponge, wring out the luckiness for getting to be your mommy…and it is still not enough. I am reflectively nostalgic because I don’t want to forget one second of you being 3 or 3 and one day or whatever age you are. Finally, I am so many feelings today because I can barely wrap my head around the fact that we created such a creation. I am inexplicably proud, overwhelmed with love, drenched in gratitude and utterly enamored. Happy Birthday my bug-a-boo. Loving you is breathing air.