When I first found out that Kate was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, it was hard.
But mostly, it was unexpected. And like anything that is unexpected (good or bad), there is an inevitable adjustment period. I don’t like adjusting.
I like things nice and comfy — like my own bed and my favorite mug and the same “Stanford University” sleep shirt with holes in it that I’ve had since high school.
And even though I’ve moved every few years almost my whole life (as the daughter of an Air Force officer), I don’t really like change.
You think I’d be used to it by now.
During those first moments of adjustment with Kate, I reached for anything that would make me feel better. That would tell me everything would be OK.
I longed for words that would wrap themselves around me like a warm blanket and whisper, “Now, now, my love. One day you will look back and barely remember the tears.”
I started a folder in my online Bookmarks called “Down Syndrome” full of – not information – but things I found comforting. And when a sad moment hit me, I would read them again and again until I felt better.
After not needing them for awhile, I stumbled upon them again. I’d like to share a few with you.
The first, and perhaps most profound comfort, was Kelle Hampton’s blog. She is – in a word, phenomenal. Her words, her pictures, her optimism — they have made me smile with every post and I still feel a kindredness toward her after reading her birth story about her sweet daughter, Nella. Her story was my story before I was able to articulate it.
The second was an article that I read on Parenting.com about a couple who had a baby later in life only to learn in the delivery room that their daughter had Down Syndrome. Of course, they came to realize what a blessing this was — and quoted (when regarding people feeling sorry for them):
“They don’t have the perspective we now have that there are many more tragic things in life than raising a healthy child with developmental delays.”
The third is this cute little blog from the sister of a girl with Down Syndrome. I love her sentiment — and it gave me a glimpse into the bright future of our family.
The fourth is an email that I received from a friend of a friend (you make a lot of new friends when you go through something like this) who wrote me this note on Facebook regarding her 4-year-old son with Down Syndrome:
“You will be the BEST thing ever in her eyes! And, in her eyes, the world is such a better place. I look at Bennett and think: my gosh, in his world, none of this matters! He doesn’t care that he’s “different” – so why should I!? He thinks this world is a cool place and loves everyone… I have learned so much from being his mommy.”
And that’s the thing about comfort — it comes from everywhere. And suddenly we realize – that whatever we thought was too big to hold – is now as soft and easy as holding a beautiful baby.