So clearly I remember the words spoken in a hospital room far from home. She may dress herself, someday. I was twenty-two years old. Alone but for that student doctor and a child so fresh from within me.
I had never really known anyone with Down syndrome, so when I asked the question it was with the best of intentions. What does that mean for her? I hadn’t yet learned that some doctors see only the black and the white. So blind, they can be, to the rainbow of maybes.
If I had listened to them, she would never have breastfed. She wouldn’t have crawled or walked. Writing was beyond her and reading was out of the question. If I had listened to the words they said, I might never even have brought her home with me. There are options, you know.
Acceptance comes in waves. But like the tide, it rolls in and out and footing goes with it. The moment you think you’ve arrived on shore you look up and find yourself grieving something she can’t do. And so you put down your oars and you allow yourself to drift at sea. Never for long. Soon enough you begin to row–the frothy surf swishing as inch by inch you gain back what you’ve lost.
I wrote you a letter she says.
She makes cards on holidays. White sheets of printer paper folded not quite in half with a single-colored scribble and her very best wishes–almost legible.
That is what I expected when I opened the envelope.
That is not what I found.
What I found was the reminder that life with this child is like a little bit of Christmas sprinkled through the year. Each day seems like any other until you open the gift of a someday come to pass. Here and now and true.
Not every mother would celebrate this One Thing. But not every mother knows the value of a someday.