Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Dream Lacking

I was walking among rows and rows of cribs. 

 Extremely skinny children with Down syndrome were in those cribs. 

I was on a class trip and I kept telling my classmates that they didn't understand what they were seeing.

 I was the only one that understood.

I was able to hold a few children.  A few smiled at me.  I worked so hard for those smiles.  I told the caregivers what the children needed to thrive and prove societal opinions wrong.

When I woke, I tried to remember as least one face.  I wanted it to be a sign that my future child is waiting for me.  That God has already picked a child for me.

But I couldn't remember a single face.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Those Moments

-He climbs in our bed between 3:30 and 5:30 am every morning.  He snuggles so close, as if he could be absorbed back into my belly.  His hand touches my cheek and his fingers flutter.  His hand moves from my cheek to my hair.  He sucks his thumb, sighs, and goes back to sleep.  His breath in my face...I don't care what it smells like.  Pure, powerful love.

-Feeding him bits of food that he cannot feed himself.  He kisses my cheek over and over.  Sticky, wet kisses.  It makes me wonder if he is more finely tuned into the collective consciousness.  As though he knows his brothers and sisters with Down syndrome across the ocean are not fed from a hand that loves them.  He savors what I give him and knows it is just one of the ways I show my love. 

-New friends visit our house.  He immediately climbs onto their lap.  He hugs them, pats their face, kisses their cheek.  I see the realization in their eyes.  They are slowly "getting" the secret.  

-At therapy, when he is tired of working, he tries to cuddle with the therapist.  Some fall for it.  One doesn't.  She says, "I will love on you after you finish this."  He finishes and she loves on him.

-At therapy, another child cries.  His sweet heart breaks with empathy.  He cries.  He wants to hug the other child, but first the other child has to stop crying.  Because he can't stop crying otherwise. 

-His brother and sister are doing whatever.  With no warning, he walks up and hugs them.  Then he walks away. 

-He is incredibly playful and social.  Anything fun.  Anything with other people. 

-He collects ball caps.  His grandmother's coworker gave him from Winn Dixie because he was always trying to remove hers.  His uncle gave him the one he was wearing last time he visited.  We have over ten ball caps hanging on a rack in the living room.

-His small hand holds mine.  He likes for our fingers to alternate instead of the usual way a child holds a parent's hand.  It is awkward because his fingers are so much smaller but that is what he likes and I obey.

-His sensory needs force him to lick things.  He licks me arms, my hands, my cheeks.  It is slightly odd but he smiles after he does it.  Perhaps it is a form of affection and not just sensory. 

-Music moves him. Any beat, any genre. He keeps time remarkably well. He will begin dancing and I have to stop my busy mind just to find the music.
What else am I not hearing?
-We are in a store. He signs "dog" or "bird" or "baby". 
Where's the dog sweetie? 
It takes me forever to find it. It is a minuscule image of a dog on a package or a shirt. 
That's right! It is a dog. 
What else am I not seeing?

-In that same store, a stranger looks at him. Probably wonders. Does he or doesn't he? Did she know while she was pregnant? Is she sad to have a child with Down syndrome? Then he waves, smiles, and blows a kiss. The stranger smiles, laughs, and tells me how precious he is. 
Oh, trust me I know. 
I hope the stranger concludes that I'm not sad.
Never sad.   It is a secret that I want to share.

-The bus drops him off at 1:00. He is ecstatic to see me, but first he has to hug the bus driver.  Then he practically leaps off of the steps into my arms. How was your day sunshine? He smiles, squeezes my face. I have to go back to work sunshine. A big kiss and hug.  I'm out the door but he is waving through the glass.

-Four hours later, I return. You would think I had been gone for days. I can't go to the restroom, put my stuff on the counter, or simply say "Hi." I must stop, pick him up, and love on him. 
He is angry otherwise. 
Nothing else matters.
How often am I missing what is truly important?  How many sights, sounds, moments?

He is teaching me.