it's october...yes i am a pathetic blogger.
right now i am listening to the cries of my three year old who instead of staying upstairs to play in his room, wants to go downstairs. well, that isn't happening so here we are, trying to blog while my little boy cries madly on my leg. i am holding strong though, he knows that i said it isn't time to go downstairs, but he also knows, like any three year old, tantrums unfortunately sometimes work
two seconds later, he has given up his tantrum for a softer demeanor, sniffling just here and there and requesting that i hold him on my lap while i type. he is a smart, tiny manipulator of a three year old this one. he knows what gets him his way.
i am not sure what i envisioned my life like before i had children. i had no idea what was coming to be honest. no one can ever prepare you for parenthood. no matter how many times you saw someone shushing a child or waiting out a tantrum in public, as you quietly made accusations in your head, you can not ever know what to expect to come your way. you could never know the pure level of exhaustion that each and every parent is feeling every single day. and you could never know how in that same moment, a fierce sense of satisfaction and joy can quickly over take even the weariest of parents, all because they heard their child count to ten for the very first time (me today). it is a strange thing to parent children.
i am the mother of a three year old and an eight month old. both boys; both cuter than i could have ever dreamed them up; both have needs and desires all their own; both require a lot of time and energy, and patience. i am in love with each one more than i could have ever thought to be possible.
hendrix is the baby...but growing each and every day at a rate that is mind boggling and scary at the same time. his smile melts my heart and warms my soul. He is determined to accomplish great feats, like crawling and pulling to stand...he communicates, although not verbally with an instinctual manner that amazes me each and every day...but, he is stubborn, just like his older brother.
camden is three...he was my introduction to parenthood, he was the first to knock me off my feet and help me feel that soaring love that i hope every parent gets to feel on their journey. the day that he was born is all a blur now, and was definitely and distinctly different than his brother's birth...the days that followed were dark and somewhat lonely...there were tears shed in his first year, there were moments of pure humility and insignificance. there were thoughts thought that i dread to think about now, that i am ashamed of. and all because he was given something that most babies are not. an extra chromosome.
down syndrome...those words were heavy in my ears that day three years ago. heavier still were the medical complications that followed them...words like low muscle tone, heart defects, leukemia, alzheimers... they were so heavy, they seemed all encompassing. i remember searching a pamphlet that we received in the hospital for pictures of other kids that had the same diagnosis...i remember trying to find camden, searching for a picture that might give me some idea of what he would look like as a toddler, a child, a teenager. i remember feeling like i was stuck in a fog...like i was waiting to wake up from a dream...this couldn't be real. yet every morning i would wake up to an alarm set for eight, to a belly no longer full of a growing baby, i would get dressed and put a smile on and drive to the hospital to feed my newborn. i would hear nurses dote over him, and then get the latest news on his oxygen levels, his blood sugar, his jaundice, his heart defects, his lack of ability to feed. every single day was an emotional roller coaster. my mood changed from one feeding to the next. i just wanted him home, to be able to forget, even for one second, the doctors, the diagnosis. after ten days we got that...we brought him home.
in the year to follow camden taught me more than anyone has ever taught me. i grew, my entire being stretched and shifted...it was like my eyes had been opened. at times it isn't easy to accept change...it can be painful...because if it isn't the change you foresaw or wanted, your instincts are to fight against it...to mourn change as a loss. but something happens when you wake up, surrounded by that change you feared would surely ruin the plans that you had ever so thoughtfully laid out for your future...something happens when you learn to accept change...somewhere along the line you realize that your plan wasn't the best plan...that you are a better version of yourself because of change, because of adaptation to this difference...it's an evolution of soul, and it's wonderful. i have my first born to thank for that life lesson...and the many that followed...i have him to thank for the growth of my faith, for the ability to see so much more than a disability, for the opportunity to love more than i ever knew possible.
three years later i have a preschooler...and our day to days aren't focused on down syndrome, even though sometimes we deal with its ramifications...our day to days are focused on having a rambunctious three year old. a three year old who loves his parents and younger brother, who likes to make his own wants known, who is stubborn and difficult, as most three year olds are. who likes to learn, things that he is interested in. who likes to swim and watch his favorite movies, over and over and over again. he is exhausting in all the ways that a three year old should be...and even if we do deal with a little extra because of that extra chromosome...he is worth it and he is loved beyond measure.
october is down syndrome awareness month. and because a nurse once told me in the nicu "you have to be his advocate, when no one else will be" i will be his advocate...because he made me a mother, because he stretches me every day...because his little soul was entrusted to me, to love, and to honor, to teach and to allow to blossom into the man that he will one day become. and i thank my Heavenly Father every day for that.