You knew it was going to happen. You knew I would regurgitate all that happened during the GiGi’s walk in a heap of goodness at your feet. You knew I would speak of unprecedented decency and love so big that it explodes into a million tiny hearts bursting with even more love. You knew it was coming and so here it is…
The day was perfect and while you may assume I mean the weather; I mean everything! The sun was doing its best work on this day and so were it’s friends breeze and humidity. It was a delivery by Mother Nature to the set the pace for such a day. As we rolled to the event minivan style, i wore my nerves like a t-shirt. My heart quickened and anxiety bubbled in my throat. I don’t know why exactly, but these events invoke excitability as certain as monthly bills. To try and calm myself, I played Bill Withers “Lovely Day” ( which has now become Judah’s theme song of sorts) and I got the weepies as he belted “when the day that lies ahead of you seems impossible to face….then I look at you”…. because I will always remember the feeling of the day that was impossible to face. I will never forget how I wanted a different life. I can’t believe that was me just 9 months ago. Now every time I look at Judah he changes me. Just looking at him has this effect where I become a better version of myself. I have no idea how he does it but I swear this kid has magic.
So, anyway, the weepies finally faded and edgy energy returned. Bobby , the poor soul, felt the brunt of it. He was witness to the type of fret that makes me feel that we don’t have enough time and everything needs to be done yesterday. Bobby’s predictable calmness eventually soothed me and I approached the tent all smiles. Our friends and family started rolling in with their mismatch socks and beaming all sorts of yellow and blue outfit combos. I passed out balloons that happily bopped and bragged #joysofjudah. We lined up and we walked. Friends and family joined together for one cause of kindness. I can barely believe it. I hope every person gets to feel as lucky and as loved as I felt this day. The walk for us was short (I think only two out of the 30 plus #joysofjudah walkers finished the thing) but the moment was mesmerizing. I can’t explain how it feels to see what one little baby, with one little extra chromosome can conjure up. I can’t explain how it feels to have so many people who don’t really understand your new normal join you anyway, because they love you, and they love your son. They support what you’re going through even if its as invisible to them as their very own breath. I can’t explain how it feels to watch one little boy awaken so much tenderness in all the people you love so that it’s seeping everywhere like too-full Tupperware.
I can’t explain how it feels to meet other families who couldn’t wait to cut hospital bracelets off either. Ones who had to go many more times than us and stay for much longer. I can’t explain how reassuring it is to know that there are people out there who know EXACTLY what we are going through. People who can look at our soul like they are looking at a mirror. It is all so much. So many people swirling around you making you feel the warmness and giddiness and intoxication of one too many Tito’s. People who love your baby because they love you and other people who love your baby because they know.
It’s a feeling I hope never leaves. It’s intense and it is divinity; I can tell you that. God put these gifts here for us. I’m sure of it. He sprinkled in these little wonders to make us better, to make us band together, and to save us from that side of ourselves we don’t like very much. He strategically placed these little souls like chess pieces to help us be grander, more like Him. The coolest part is that He picked our family. I get to be the one who has the feel goods and pass them like the perfect spiral. I get to see transformations all around me, help open eyes, do His work, be lighter than I’ve ever been….and I get to share it. You can’t keep a loveliness like this to yourself; your heart will burst.
I completely loved this day. I love my little Bubba and what he’s doing just by existing in this world. I love the gift of GiGi’s and the way their acceptance is a tidal wave. I love seeing other littles like my Judah and watching to see what he may do one day. I love this life, this gift, my tribe. I love it all. It is so much more like a wonderful, wild dream than the silly nightmare it was born from.
I keep bumping into the same saying everywhere I go. It’s like when you run into that friend at the grocery store and then see them in every aisle for the rest of your trip. It has filled my news feed, sprinkled itself in my Instagram, was suggested as a pin I may like, and was revealed in self improvement books. The ones that are strewn about my house as part of my summer reading pledge. Basically, this quote suggests that: should you not be able to change your problems, then perhaps instead you can change your perception of those problems. I think I unconsciously did that in the early days with Judah. Although, to suggest Judah was a problem is like a reverberating knife being marooned into my belly. Rather, I’d like to think my view of Down Syndrome was the problem. My perception switch was turned on when I met my son and started tossing knowledge out into the world like a first pitch. I did this automatically with Judah (and by automatically I mean after a solid week of self pitying,and a consistent stream of tears) because Judah makes it easy, I mean have you met him?…
But, I think the universe is trying to pass a note to me now. I, (and I am nowhere near alone ) will encounter overwhelming difficulties; It’s inevitable. It is not just, but hardships are doled out accordingly just the same. Life is that jealous friend out to destroy your obliviousness. It is screaming at you “pay attention to me!!!” So there’s life’s adversities, jumping out from behind a bush, scaring the shit out of you……… or not??? I mean, I’ve been guilty of expecting it, as in: “of course , another thing on this terrible,no good, very bad, day. It’s almost as if we shake fists to whoever we shake fists at and say “see world, I KNEW today was gonna suck”…..things do happen though and sadness will come, and hurt and anger ( which is really just hurt playing dress up) and stress. It will all come. But that art of alternating your reaction is what unlocks the deadbolt here. It s what stops bad days from being bad ones and in their absence comes learning experiences, lows that make you appreciate the highs, a way to figure out what is to be gained. You have to go deep though…you have to grab that ginsu and cut through all the surface maddening that you think you deserve. Feelings like: “I have a right to be mad” ” or “life is so unfair” You have to cut through all the me me bullshit and decide how you are going to save yourself from drowning in the woeful wave pool. How are you going to save your day, maybe your life even?
Now please, do not misunderstand my rambling. It is not meant to be a shaking finger at you, urging you to make the right choice like I have because I am soooo enlightened. It is the opposite of that. It’s the personification of the ideas swirling around like a soft serve in my brain. To get the words out of my head and into the conscience of others is to make it real; a mantra. it’s my commitment letter or my resolution. It’s tucking away my summer clothes, getting out my cozy sweaters and that way you want to start fresh when a new season is upon you.. This thing, whatever I’m writing, is “not you, it’s me” and if you find some stuff you can use here, either from myself or the guru’s guiding me to this post…. well then, you can thank me later, or name your child after me; whatever feels right.
Anyway, moving on to cutting through my righteous bullshit. I think of two quotes : One is, “people will love you and people will hate you and it will all have nothing to do with you.” Ah, this quote… I don’t know who wrote it but I’d like to hug them for an hour, take them to dinner, even give them a foot massage maybe. I like this for a million reasons. All our “bad days” are created by how people around us act, or rather our perception of them. Rarely does an object ruin our day. We’ve all stubbed a toe and cursed the coffee table or yelled at the potato chip Gods as our yellow bag dangled from the swirly silver, but, for the most part people play the hand how our day goes. Some are kind and wave you through traffic and moments later someone flips you off. Your friend may send you a heart warming text and sitting right next to you, are your babies and you swear they’re trying to wear you down on purpose. All of this has nothing to do with you. I like to think I am a decent person. I hold empathy, kindness, manners, loyalty and fairness dear to my heart. Yet, some people just do not like me. I am not their cup of tea. And maybe their vision of kindness is different than mine or my loyalty tips the scale the wrong way… but there is a peace in knowing that I cannot change that. Because of it, I don’t have to change me! It’s softening solace. As an awkward tween turned teen turned college misfit I was always earning overtime working to be well liked. I put in a lot of man hours and the reality is, people would’ve probably liked me or not anyway; regardless of all the fussing. When I live the realization that people have their own stuff, and I really deep ,down, marrow bone forget about MY feelings being hurt, then my days become better. When I give and forgive, I always feel so much better than when I’m right.
The other quote is similar. It’s from Richard Carlson’s “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff” Just to interrupt myself here, I read this book cover to cover, whenever I have time to digest an excerpt. Then when I finish, I start the process all over again. I borrowed this little nugget actually, so you know who you are, I owe you a book. Anyway, this quote states that praise and blame are all the same. Dissected, it means that all day long people will be approving and disapproving of your life choices. it’s going to happen because the reality is, we all have a different prescription for the eye glasses through which we view life. So, the point is to not wallow in the disapproval but to recognize that it is going to be there. It will be there like the trash to take out, or bills to be paid, or that common cold. There may be annoying little nuances to your day but disapproval should not dictate it. That’s what’s up. Also, we all seek approval. Shoot, I’m doing it right now as I write this: “will anybody like it?” “share it?” “do I come off like a poor, insecure want to be writer?” We seek approval all day long, and, when it doesn’t come wrapped up nicely, delivered at our door, well then we carry on about how we are unappreciated and blah,blah, blah, bullshit, blah. Approval should be like a decadent treat. It should not be the why we do what we do. It should be fifty bucks on a scratch off, someone paying it forward….and disapproval, well that’s a house fly.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that once these things meant everything….people liking me, others being nice to me, approving of my life choices, silencing their disapproval , me me me me…(you get my point.) Now I’m trying to shift, like my foot was asleep. I want to make sure I’m always giving others the benefit of the doubt. I work in a school where disrespect and disregard and “f-words” run rampant. If take it all personal, make it about how I feel, I will be sleeping with dinosaurs. I will be destroyed. I must evolve. So, the destination here is to stay strong enough to believe in myself and my convictions. I must have faith in the goodness that lies within me and cut out my insecurities like coupons. But I must also be unassuming enough to have compassion. I cannot be afraid to grab someone else’s smelly shoes and try them on. The goal: to erase all bad days by being my best and truest me without it being all about me…should be a piece of cake.