Monday, December 22, 2008

Because He is Loved

"Kids with Down's are so loving," has been a constant refrain from friends and family as they address Bear's diagnosis. Funny, because 6 weeks ago, I would have said the same thing. Now, however, I realize that too often we take for granted that love is not something that is just assumed or granted simply because of a condition. Down Syndrome does not guarantee lovingness. Bear is no more likely to be loving than any other baby. He will be loving because he is first loved. (This sounds oddly familiar.) How would Bear possibly know what it is to be loving if we first didn't love him? He wouldn't. What we do know about children with DS is that they are more accepting of people and situations because they are not hindered by or burdened with the trivial and petty things that bog us down or keep us from reaching out to others. All it takes for a child with DS is to know that someone or something is good and they embrace that with joy.

The other refrain we keep getting is, "God only gives his 'special' gifts to 'special' people." Now, I've been raised in a Christian home, have gone to church all my life, and still recognize this as Christianese. This makes it sound as though God sits in Heaven and has a quota of babies with Down Syndrome that he must give away each year, so he seeks out only the most deserving couples to give them to (must give credit to Dan for these words). If God only gives his special gifts to special people, then why at Walmart the other day did I see a girl with DS who was obviously unkempt and probably had not been afforded all of the services possible for her? Would society say that her mother was a special person to receive such a special gift? I think not. If my first instinct was to judge that mother, I can only imagine what someone who has not been affected by DS would think.

Isn't it possible that sometimes God just lets life happen?? Dan and I are no more special than my sister and her husband who are expecting and will probably have a "normal" little boy. Why would we assume that we're set apart because God's given us Bear? Isn't it possible that we simply have to arise to whatever life gives us and be faithful in those things? I think God receives more glory in that response than if we say that God's given a special gift to a special couple. That steals the glory from God and places it on Dan and me.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Husbands and Wives

Marriage takes work. There are so many marriages that crumble over such trivial things (money, sex, lack of communication). I've prided myself on how strong my marriage is to fortunate I am to be in love with and married to my best friend. Poor Dan...I couldn't ask for a better man in the world. He is so strong, so patient, so understanding with me. I pretty much had a melt down last night, just when I thought I was on the upswing and everything was better. I just feel so alone, no matter how much encouragement and kind words people offer. Thank goodness for a loving man to go through this with me, who can kiss it and make it all better.

Friday, December 5, 2008


I love the game of know, the game where you're given a word that you have to describe to your teammates without using the list of words on the card or you get beeped by an opponent. My family has laughed our way through many rounds of this wonderfully frustrating game.

However, I've found that something else is now taboo in my life. The words Down syndrome can't seem to be uttered by anyone. It's like people are afraid that I'll break down if they say the words while we're talking. I just want everyone to know it's ok to ask. Dan and I bring it up, but people continue to shy away from it. I'm not sure how to make it more comfortable for others. I mean, this is everyday life for us now, so it has to be normal, even if it's not "normal" for others.

Answered Prayer

I had an ah ha moment the other epiphany. As Krista and I sat and visited, I shared w/ her about how when Bear and I were still in the hospital, I sat there holding him one day and just began to pray for him. (Remember, this was pre-diagnosis) My prayer was that he would love passionately, be kind and compassionate, bring joy to others' lives, and be best friends with his daddy. While Krista and I were talking, it suddenly hit me: God's already answering those prayers...maybe just a little differently than how I had dreamed.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On the way up

It's amazing how quickly a heart can change. A week ago I was sad, grieving, a little angry. Today, I'm excited. I'm looking forward to what's to come. I've been in touch w/ our local parent support group and we've been invited to attend their Christmas party next week to meet some of the parents and kids. As much as every parent wants their child to be unique, to stand out, to be an individual, I am assured that my child will be a trailblazer. He won't be just another kid like the hundreds around him. He will be different and will be known for being different. My prayer continues to be that he loves passionately, has a huge heart, and brings joy to every person and situation he touches. So far so good.

I sent an email out to my co-workers today announcing Bear's condition. I asked that they not apologize because we aren't sad or sorry, and for some reason that tends to be our natural response as humans...why is it we automatically see this as bad news?