i sat on the hospital bed holding a tiny new baby. one by one social workers came in. the first one asked how my marriage was and gave grim statistics about how disability in children was a leading cause of divorce. i held the baby a little tighter and looked for the light coming in through the blinds.
the next one came with a packet of facts letting me know what i should and shouldn’t expect from my child. but it was what she said at the end of it all that cut deep, maybe hit the hardest of all of the news of the past four days.
she said it as an afterthought, as if she almost forgot to mention it -
“her life expectancy is about 50 years.”
words can hit like a sucker punch and a mother fresh from a c-section isn’t in much shape to recover from such a blow. so when she left the room, packet left on the hospital table, i held on to the limited life in my arms and wept.
just given to me and the gift of her was being taken. no parent wants to know the timeline for their child’s life. and that they’d said it meant something to me that i didn’t know then, but i know now.
she wasn’t valid. her life wasn’t like other lives. and so her personhood wasn’t. and that meant my motherhood wasn’t. and so when i held my baby in a roomful of friends with their babies, i was always the imposter. i thought we didn’t count.
yesterday she turned ten.
ten years of changing the woman who wept alone into a real mom.
real moms don’t know what a day will bring.
real moms hold throw up bowls and nurse sick children back to health.
real moms decorate for birthday parties that bring smiles when their children walk in the front door.
real moms see like god, can see in the ten year old the newborn babe there too, somehow all of their child’s life is always before them.
real moms help their children learn to read.
real moms have children with down syndrome.
thank you, mazzy. happy birthday.
gratitude list ~ one thousand gifts ~ 1223 – 1247
john watching the dark crystal
watching for the holy spirit
week flying by
advil cold & sinus
at the pub with laurel
brunch with erika and vince
praying at traffic jam
bag of sleep
vacation next week
ella sharing her feelings
shannon, so true
dinner with tyrone and karen
mazzy turns ten