It's 8:05 Friday night, and you and I are here at home alone with Hayden. Most of the kids are at the park playing tennis and baseball, Mackenzie and Tyler are out to dinner, and Daddy is at the coast working late. Hayden is sleeping contentedly in his swing beside us, while you snuggle on my lap as I type. You're still tiny enough to fit there nicely... as always you are sucking your thumb and staring at the screen earnestly as if reading the words I write. A cool summer breeze is blowing through the windows - finally - a perfect end to a hot Oregon day.
As I sit here quietly typing, you finger the sticky popsicle stick on the desk, leftover from my dessert. You murmur to me - mmmm - and slide off my lap happily, your prize in hand. And now, echoing from the living room, I can hear your pretty sing-song voice, proclaiming joy over your new found toy. You find so much pleasure in the simplest of things, and I can almost guarantee you will spend the next twenty minutes pondering that popsicle stick, holding it proudly in the air for imaginary friends to see. You'll make up a story for those spell-bound spectators, gesturing wildly with one hand while waving your treasure in the air with the other, each movement punctuated by the notes of your story-song.
"La la la la BWAH la la bah !" you sing earnestly to a host of invisible onlookers, and you smile at their response. Pausing to stare at a member of your captive audience, then bursting out in peals of laughter, you are a one man show, just you and your popsicle stick.
And my heart fills up, wondering what it is you see, what thoughts are filling your pretty little head as you entertain your friends, what it is that those nonsensical syllables mean to you. You're three and a half years old, and although new words are filling up your vocabulary daily at an astonishing rate, the old ones remain fixed in place - the ones I don't know the definitions to.
I wish so much I could peek into your mind and know the meanings to those words - because although they are foreign to me, they make up a language that seems instinctive and native to my Lilybird. You utter them with such sincerity, these babblings from heaven, that I know there must be angels listening in rapt attention. Countless times throughout the day you talk to me in this baby language, and try as I might I can't decipher one word. But you know, of that I am convinced.
So tonight, as the sun fades into the trees behind me, and you find your way back onto my lap, I am thinking of how very far we've come. Because there was a day when this mystery language might have scared me, this barrier between you and me. There was a time when all I thought about was how or when my little girl would talk to me, and all of those unanswered questions wreaked havoc with my mind.
But here we are, three and a half years into this journey called Down syndrome, and somehow - without even knowing how we got here - I'm okay.
I'm okay with the fact that speech took longer than I'd anticipated, is coming more slowly than it did for your brothers and sisters, and that we'll still be working on it for years to come. I'm okay with the fact that sometimes we have to work together to know what it is you need, and that often I'm just hoping I got it right. I can listen to other typical three year olds articulate their needs so clearly, watch others even younger than you string words together so perfectly, and not feel that heart-stabbing pain that used to accompany such comparisons.
Because you're just you, Lily. And I have so much love for you, so much pride and appreciation and gratitude, that milestones and words like "typical" and "average" just fall by the wayside in light of who you are.
And that doesn't mean we won't keep striving for the very best for you, or that I'll ever just settle for second best when it comes to getting you all the help you need. I will always do my best to expect not accept, always pray and believe and hope and challenge you to be all that God made you to be.
But with all my heart I am so delighted with the uniqueness that is you. You are a gift I don't deserve, a little girl who has more charm in her little pinkie than any little three year old I've met, and every day you show me what life is really about. I am so blessed to be your mama, and I don't know why God chose to pour out such a blessing on me by giving me you, but I am so glad He did.
And some day when we get to Heaven I'm going to ask God to show me what was hidden in your heart, what beautiful words and stories and pictures you were sharing with the angels that summer day...with the popsicle stick in your hand and that shining little smile on your face...
Until then I remain forever grateful to be,
Your mama oxoxox
Just a quick note to say thank you so much to all who have donated to our Saving Penny giveaway. We'll draw a winner for the iPad on Monday- if you haven't had a chance to read the giveaway post, you still have two more days to enter ...spread the word !