I thought I had accepted that Adele had Down syndrome. I thought that during the 20 weeks that we had to prepare before her birth, this would give me the right amount of time to digest the news and accept that our journey would be so different, more obstacles, more tears, more upset. We had so much time to prepare, but I wasn't ready and I don't think that I had truly accepted that Adele had Down syndrome.
My love is unconditional. That has never been a concern. I love Adele will every ounce of my being, but I'm not too sure if I was ready to have a child with Down syndrome.
As I travel this journey, I am finding out new things every day, some are amazing and some are more difficult to deal with. It's not just about the delays, it's about the appointments, the added stress and heartache that comes along with Down syndrome. It's about all of the medical concerns that she gets to face because of this one extra chromosome. The journey with Down syndrome is different, we have this amazing tour guide, who is taking us on a more scenic and beautiful route. It's not the route that we expected, but that's ok, it's the route filled with such picturesque scenery and unwavering love.
While writing this post, I cried. I cried so much, that I needed to stop and take a break.
I woke up this morning and I felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I don't know why. Every morning, when I wake up, I look into Adele's crib and she looks up at me with her big blue eyes and she smiles. She smiles so big that it warms your heart. This isn't because of Down syndrome.
Every day, she plays with her sister and gets sad when Brinley isn't around. This isn't because of Down syndrome.
Every day, she works hard to achieve milestones. This isn't because of Down syndrome.
Every day, she wants to be snuggled, fed, loved and talked to. This isn't because of Down syndrome.
Adele does all of these things, because she is 15 months old. She does all of this because this is what babies do.
I woke up this morning and for the first time, I am living for today. I am enjoying the moment with my daughters. I am not feeling the stress of the years to come. I am not dreading school years with Adele. I am not worried about the birthday parties, the bullying, the medical concerns.
Today, I woke up and realized that before me, God has given me these two little miracles who have so heavily impacted my life for the better. I am thankful for their laughter. I am thankful for their smiles. I am thankful that I was chosen to be their mommy. I look at how wondrous these two little beings are and how James and I, out of love, made pure perfection.
Today, I am savouring the moments and not focusing on tomorrow, the tomorrow that isn't promised to any of us. I am loving the time with my family. I am listening to my children's laughter. I am not focusing on the things that I think I could do better, instead, I am telling myself that I am a great mom. I am telling myself that I am working so hard to ensure that my children feel loved and accepted. I am telling myself that James and I may not always be consistent with therapy and rules and consequences, but we do the best that we know how. We wake up every single day and love these girls. We nurture them, we read to them, we sing to them, we play games with them, we take them out to fun places, we tell them all of the time, just how proud we are of them. We were given two little miracles who I know in my heart, will make a huge difference in this world.
I am no longer going to get down on myself because I think that I should be doing more. I should be a better mom. I should focus on therapy more. I should be doing what other moms are doing with their children. I will not feel that I need to compete with other moms. The other day, a friend told me that I was a phenomenal mom. She doesn't realize just how much those words impacted me. At best, I have felt that I am just keeping my head above water, then you call me phenomenal. That day, I felt a shift, a positive shift. A shift in the right direction.
My world changed overnight and I don't know why, but I am so glad that it did.
When you have children, I don't think you ever really know what you are in for. I don't think we truly know what being a parent entails. You have a baby and you think of the joy and love that this child will bring to your life, you don't think about that there may be a difficult journey ahead of you. The future is unknown. What tomorrow brings, we don't know, but what I do know, is that I have been given this moment. I have been given this moment, that I can spend with those who matter most. I am not going to think about what I should have done differently yesterday, I am going to think about what I will do better today. I am going to enjoy that Adele sits up all on her own now. I am going to enjoy that Adele now waves 'hi' and 'bye'. I am going to enjoy Brinley's facial expressions and her love and excitement for life. I am not going to stress about the amount of TV time, the 2 lollipops, the lack of fruit at lunch. I am going to keep loving these girls, keeping them safe and protected and continue to be the mom that they need me to be.
I am telling all of my friends, you are doing a great job. You are an amazing mom. When you start feeling down, when you start questioning whether or not you are a good parent, slow down, take a breath and look at your child. You are worthy. You are amazing. You are doing your best.