Monday, May 23, 2011

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon

I've noticed that I tend to get more reflective and contemplative at the end of weekends.  When I'm working I hate Sundays, especially Sunday nights.  It has traditionally been one of my most stressful times of the week.  It was a time for wondering what I didn't get done over the weekend that I had intended or wanted to and worrying about what the upcoming week would bring.  I have several people close to me that experience this as well so I don't feel alone, but it doesn't make that seemingly insignificant part of the week any easier.  I also attribute it to a change in routine.  I have an amazing relationship with my husband.  We are one of the those couples that truly enjoy spending time together (I know, gag).  We spend most if not all of every weekend together and on Sunday nights I start having to think about work again and how we go our separate ways ( I know, gag again).  Being the overly neuortic and compulsive person I am, I'm already worried about how I will handle this again when I go back to work, but this time, leaving Tera as well. 

As previously mentioned, and as is common knowledge, I'm compulsive.  I've accepted it, but it's not an easy thing to live with (either for me or Tom).  However, I'm proud to say that since becoming a mom, I have legitimately been able to let go of things previously never possible. Imagine the freedom I have when (gasp) I don't have to dust my bedroom furniture every week! I never knew people could live like this.  Some of you who may read this, and know me, are probably thinking, "I told her she would have to reprioritize when she had a baby." Well you were right, but honestly I knew that would happen, I just needed something that demanded my attention, and apparently babies do that.  So now when I hear her voice from the next room alerting me to her growing hunger and need to be changed, I moan a little, hoping for just a few more minutes of sleep.  But then I'm up and she gets changed, and she gets fed, and then we get to play.  This may be one of my favorite times of the day.  She is rested and fed and her face just lights up at almost any noise I make.  We play little games and we make noises and we are silly.  I won't lie, there are things that go through my head that need (ok, need is a strong word) to get done, but for that hour or so, there's few other things I would rather be doing.  And while there are times when I think, "Am I not using my time efficiently? Because she could be fairly content in her swing while I get stuff done," I realize, my job right now is to be her mom and playing with her and studying every inch of her face is the best use of my time. 

On the flip side of those bright spots of my day, are some darker ones that make me realize I didn't know fear or worry ever in my life like I did beginning on the morning of February 26, 2011.  In those darker moments I have to come to grips with that fact that our little girl is different.  On that morning almost 3 months ago I thought we were getting some of the worst news a parent can get, but I realize now, that despite the circumstances, we are so incredibly lucky.  As I read post after post on a forum designed specifically for parents of kids with Down Syndrome I realize that while all of our initial feelings were so normal and commonplace, everything the other moms who have been there say, are so true.  You don't look at your baby as your Down Syndrome baby, you look at your baby as your baby.  And while the word lucky isn't the first word that came to mind when her doctor informed us our little girl was blessed with an extra 21st chromosome, it's what comes to mind most days now.  Not only could she have had something so much worse, but she could have so many more of the complications that come along with that one extra little chromosome.  I have met, talked to, and read about moms who have had to watch their babies go through open heart surgery at ages of sometimes as young as 2 months, moms who still have to feed their sons or daughters through tubes, moms who have to learn to use oxygen equipment because their little ones still can't regulate their breathing.  I hear about these parents and I think, "We are lucky."

Yes, Tera has 47 chromosomes and most other people have 46.  But Tom and I spent most of my pregnancy registering for things that would make her different and decorating her room in an all Star Wars theme.  I was hell bent on avoiding pink to the point that people still apologize if they get us a gift and it has pink in it.  But that's us.  I spent most of my life wanting to conform to what's normal and it wasn't until I met Tom that I realized, normal is boring sometimes.  We are different.  We listen to loud music, we have tattoos, we have more than one room in our house with a Star Wars theme, I love zombies and skulls and we wanted to make sure that our daughter knew that different was ok.  We just didn't know that some of what makes her different would be part of her DNA instead of just what we dressed her in or what kind of music we subject her to.  So when we found out she was "different" we just thought, well so are we and we know now that we may just be ok as one weird little different family. 

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