“we’re you afraid to get pregnant again?”
some questions tell more than they ask.
a simple answer to a complicated heart.
let’s unmask the question, shall we?
“did you consider sterilization after you had a child with down syndrome?”
“were you so devastated that you didn’t get a perfect baby that you swore off childbearing altogether?”
“did you fear and let fear control you from then on out?”
but here’s the big one.
“how do you suffer?”
mazzy has a couple kids in her class that have been using mean words.
i wrote the teacher a note after i finally got her to tell me what was said. it was like prying a long sealed paint can lid up and off to get her to say it through her tears.
later i told abe and ella that mazzy needed a friend right now, that kids at school have been unkind. the next night at dinner we asked her if her teacher had talked to her and the other children. she nodded and when we pressed for details, she wouldn’t give them.
“mazzy, i really want to know.”
abe spoke up across the table.
“we love you mazzy. you don’t have to feel embarrassed. we’re your family. we won’t make fun of you.”
and i swallowed hard when i saw his words reach her heart. she stared at the table and she cried the tears of safety, of a safe place and of love. and she told us, she told us all about it.
when you have down syndrome in this life you learn this sometimes before you take your first breath.
you are unwanted.
but i’m the lucky one.
i don’t like the idea of people with down syndrome being called angels. it bothers me because it seems a backhanded way of further denying them their personhood.
mazzy is not an angel. mazzy is a person.
but she is different than me.
she’s kind. her default is thankfulness and self sacrifice. she deflects attention to those she loves rather than vying for it herself. she is loyal and she thinks nothing of her preference when she hears the cry of those around her.
she’s unlike me in this way – love comes easier to her.
apparently extra genetic material on the 21st chromosome means that god stayed his hand with the rest of us. the rest of us struggle all our days to love as well.
i didn’t fear having another baby after i had mazzy. i felt the providential hand of god in our having her and was pretty confident he wasn’t interested in doing the same thing twice. he seldom does.
i say to her what every human being needs to hear.
we want you. you are wanted. we want you around.