As the nine month marker approaches I feel I should let you know where I am at with all of this life altering, joy finding business. We are 3 months away from Judah turning one and I spend much of my days relishing, staring, snuggling and full belly laughing. In some ways, I have just come to the realization that I have another baby. I gaze in disbelief and I find myself saying ” I can’t believe I have you.” At the end of this ritual there is almost always a tight squeeze involved, followed by too many kisses to count….then a few trickling tears , or at the very least, eyes half full.
I’m wistful about some things… like how I wasted one single second of my precious boy’s life because I was too preoccupied with things like “if people could see it” or what our future would bring. I hug my baby and tears explode because I can’t believe I even thought about not wanting him for one fleeting second and I am ashamed that I felt so sorry for myself. I am in a bit of a state because I want a do over damn it. I want a redo in that hospital room. Kelle Hampton said she was able to do it a year after Nella was born (click here if you don’t know who or what I’m talking about) I am going to try my best to get back in my birthing room. I am going to bring my Judah, Bobby and all our maddening love. We are going to lie on that hospital bed and give this baby the kind of welcome he deserves! We are going to sing him happy birthday and spill joyous tears only; sadness will not be allowed in the room that day. He is going to have the biggest birthday party. One of gigantic proportions.
I want this new memory to erase the ones when I was unsure of how to love my baby. I know it will never work. I know the pain had to show up first to the party; before the joy could come. I also know that back then glimmer poked through darkness. Glimmer that had to do with God, with our love for each other, with tales from others promising joy. We couldn’t see it then. We knew it would come but had no idea how it would make its way to us. I imagine it’s much like being stranded and waiting for help to come. But we are here. This boy has changed us and now it is time to pass the torch to the new unsuspecting mommies and daddies. I see them out there I see them on Instagram and have even had people reach out hoping I can help. It makes me cry just thinking about them. Not because I feel sorry but because of how I wish I could hug away their worried souls. I want to take away their heartbroken tears one by one and carefully console ” I swear you won’t need these.”
We can’t go back. We can’t white out all those tears. I know I can’t. I don’t even know that if I could, I would. I have learned so many lessons. I have learned that God knows what he is doing so just get out of his way. I have learned that you will get better and until you are, there is so much humanity out there to support you. I have learned to never, ever, ever judge anything again just by what you’ve heard. I went from painstakingly petrified to waking up everyday and jumping out of bed like a kid on Christmas morning, getting surprised with a puppy and winning the lottery all rolled in one. Every single morning I’m greeted with the greatest of grins and every morning those grins erase doubt and uncertainty.
This is where I’m at. I don’t care anymore. I don’t care if people can “see it.” But let me tell you something, people do see it. In fact last week in one day, two people approached us. They nostalgically recounted how their children with Down syndrome were grown now and how they (like most mommies )miss the baby days. Both moms gushed unabashedly of their child’s gracious souls, their accomplishments and what a wonderful gift their children were. The second time it happened to us that day, I cried right there in the toy aisle of Target… and as Bobby hugged me, I noticed his eyes were a little damp too. People see it. They seek you out and I don’t care if that happens everyday for the rest of our lives.I don’t care if my son lives with us forever or gets married. I don’t care if baby Judah goes to college someday or pushes all of the boundaries out there waiting to be pushed like a big red button. All I care about is that smile, that exaggerated happiness that warms me down to my tippy toes. As long as he keeps that. As long as he does whatever keeps him that happy than this little momma is all in. It puzzles me a little, Isn’t this the wish we should have for all our children, the world, ourselves? That freedom from pain, exaggerated love and lightness.
I met a boy with Down syndrome at a wedding who had a sparkle that makes me envious. CJ sung Uptown Funk with the gusto of a sold out show. He didn’t care what people thought, how he sounded, who was watching. He just sung it because he loved it and he was in a moment. My goodness he was something. He made me speculate…maybe we’re the ones that have it all wrong… like my dear friend Bridget once told me,” maybe we are the ones MISSING the chromosome.”
Whatever has happened to my life. Whether the change came from me, Judah has magic or God has kissed our family, I don’t want to go back. I am just fine crying when I look at my baby too long or in the middle of Target. I am fine with all the what if’s, the limitations, the fight to give my son a fair education. I am just fine with a different retirement than Florida ; a different path. I am fine with all of it thank you very much and I wouldn’t change a single minute.