Monday, January 30, 2012

The Eyes Have It

I can stare at the faces of my girls all day long, that is, if they could hold still long enough. I have memorized every feature, every expression. I know exactly how my oldest's eyebrows raise at the slightest inflection of her voice. I could tell you precisely how my baby's lip starts to curl into the most perfect little baby pout when she's about to cry.

And then there is their eyes, oh their eyes! You know how the ocean, on a crystal clear day, has a gradation from aquamarine to a deep, beautiful blue? Yeah, they're that kind of blue. Their eyes are the exact same shade, but my baby's eyes, well they have the slightest little upturn at the edge, forming them into the most perfect little almond shape. Every since she arrived, I've been obsessed with them. Her eyes are so amazing, so expressive, so pure. If you held this little puddle of love in the crook of your arm, you would totally understand.

That little almond shape is part of the magic of having an extra chromosome. My daughter has them, and the thousands of others who have a little somethin' extra do as well. The did I miss it before? How did I not see the potential, the ability to change the world, the love? I am constantly examining what I used to think about people with Down syndrome, and what I know now. I've realized that what I used to think and what I've learned are two very different things. A lot of what I used to think about Down syndrome wasn't really true. I've learned that there are many awesome individuals paving the way for my daughter to do great things and while my hopes and dreams for her seemed to crash that day 4 months ago, these beautiful people have shown me that those hopes and dreams are still there, with a little twist to them, but still totally and completely there. There's a lot to learn on this new journey...the lingo, the therapies, the "what ifs," but you know one thing I didn't have to learn? How to love her. And really, that's all she needs.

I completely believe that the place we are in now was divine and purposeful. I feel lucky to be her mama. I get to see the world differently. My husband gets to see the world differently. My older daughter, and any other children we are blessed to receive, will get to see the world differently. We get to walk it, hand in hand, with our special little baby leading the way. She will forever be our little compass, pointing us back to what is real, what is valuable, and what is important. How cool is that? This new life? I'm so excited to live it.

She is not exactly what I imagined...
She's so much better.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


I've always liked those end of the year specials. You know the ones, Barbara Walters Most Fascinating People, Katie Couric's special, and yes, I'll admit, the top celebrity weddings and the top scandals of the year on E. There's always something about the end of the year that makes you stop and reflect on the previous year. In years past, big events included a trip to the other side of the world, graduating college, getting a "real" job, buying a house, getting married, the birth of our first daughter. Not to be overshadowed by the little things like Disney World, the worst sunburn of my life, breaking my foot, and getting rid of unnecessary things like an appendix or tonsils. Reflection. Its a good thing. But this past year, 2011, wow.

This year has been painful.
This year has been beautiful.
This year has changed me.

There are no words to describe what it feels like when your beautiful daughter is born and you hear the words "Down syndrome" and "delayed milestones." There are no words to describe the pain and grief I felt those first few days, while I was begging for all of this not to be true. And there are no words to describe how after the darkness, the light streams in and blasts the darkness away and a whole new strange, but beautiful world opens up while looking at a helpless, squishy, 5 pound baby.

I learned that I am capable, capable of so much more than I could have ever imagined. I have walked a huge valley, and dang it all, I am coming out on the other side. I know there will be days, days where I'm overwhelmed, days where I cry, days where I'm worried because an extra chromosome does come with some added concerns. But today, TODAY, I choose joy. The joy of another year gone, and a new year bursting at the seams with potential. The joy of motherhood, of loving two beautiful girls, one with 46 chromosomes, and one with 47. So good-bye dear 2011, I cherished our time together. Here's to you, 2012, Bring. It. On.