Something really dawned on me lately. I realized that even though I've been parenting for 23 years...and have given birth to ten children...I'm not immune to the comparison game.
You would think I would have learned after the first few children- comparisons truly are, as they say, odious. One child might walk proficiently at ten months, while the next child is just beginning to take those first steps at 15 months. Your brother Josiah barely uttered a two syllable word until after he turned two; your sister Mackenzie had an impressive vocabulary of 50+ words at 18 months. One of your siblings was completely potty trained at 22 months old- in one week- but the exact same technique used on other children had me wondering if maybe we should buy lifetime stock in a diaper company.
I remember an old friend of ours years ago...
Anytime Daddy and I pointed out (as new parents are inclined to do) something that your brother Jason was doing, such as taking his first steps, Bruce would laugh and say, "That's nothing, my child has been doing that for 15 years!" It sort of made us realize how silly we were being, to take pride in something that eventually every typical child would learn to do.
So with this wealth of parenting experience, wouldn't you think Mommy would just smile when I watch other babies reaching developmental milestones that you haven't hit yet, and realize- they all get there eventually?
Because with that extra chromosome comes the unexpected. And while I can look to examples of older children or even adults with Down syndrome that I know of or read about, who are "high functioning", to encourage myself or fix my heart on...truthfully I have no assurance of you getting there.
And honestly, I hate that term "high functioning", if truth be told. I hate to think of life in terms of function, as if you are a product or robot to be analyzed. You're my Lily, my daughter, and I want so much for you. I don't want to wonder which end of the "spectrum" you're going to be on when you're older. I just want to enjoy this time with you as a baby, and not overanalyze every milestone or achievement.
So when I find myself playing the comparison game- even if it's just internally- I stop.
Because there's a fine line between expecting-not-accepting... and also realizing that every single person has limitations. You are not unique in that because you have Down syndrome.
And if I spend your early years weighing out every little accomplishment and wondering who you're going to be 20 years down the line... I'm going to miss out on who you are right now.
You're my Lily.
Will we find things to motivate you, look for ways to challenge you, strive to do our very best to give you every possible advantage imagineable so that you can go further in life than we ever expected?
Will we celebrate milestones met, big and small, and cheer you on when you work so hard to achieve them?
But in the end, I am determining that who you are is not measured by what you can do. Your value and your worth are because you are mine, my good and perfect gift sent from Heaven.