There are moments of every day when it hits me how my fears of the past had very little to do with reality, and everything to do with how unfamiliar I was with Down syndrome.
Just today it really dawned on me how there is such a natural relationship between you and your brothers and sisters, and how at one time I thought that would be hindered because of that extra chromosome. I really didn't have a clue how things were going to play out over time... but here we are almost a year and a half into this thing and I'm realizing that there is no difference between the way you interact with your siblings and the way any of our "typical" children interacted with each other.
There is give and take, there are funny moments, happy moments, sad moments...you adore each other and laugh with each other and sometimes you even get on each other's nerves. You play favorites sometimes, preferring to be held by your younger sister, while snubbing your older sister, or you reach for one brother while another one is trying to snuggle you.
You share your toys nicely most of the time, but you also like to swipe the forbidden ones away...like crucial pieces to a game of Risk right when someone is about to win...and you like to army crawl over as fast as you can to bang on the keyboard if anyone is trying to send an email from their laptop...or write a blog post...
You are so doted on and entertained, and the main argument I find myself having to break up is whose turn it is to hold you! Each of your brothers and sisters, from the oldest to the youngest, takes turns doing therapy with you- which is really just playing games with you to help you to learn. Jackson loves to do flashcards with you, and he's so good at congratulating you when you get them right...
This afternoon our neighbor friend, Ari, came over to play. A little while after he got here, he wanted to know if Jackson could come over to his backyard to see his fort. I didn't have time to go with him, and Jack is too little to go by himself....nobody can turn the tears on like your brother, and he tried his hardest to use those tears to change my mind about letting him go with Ari. When he lost that battle, he quickly turned to his greatest ally for sympathy...
The look of concern on your face was so priceless. You reached your tiny arms out to comfort him and buried your sympathetic little face in his chest, while he cried out his woes to you.
It took all of five seconds for Jackson's tears to dissolve, and then he was grinning and telling me to "take a picture of me and Lils, Mama!"
I remember the day you were born, wondering how we were going to tell your brothers and sisters you had Down syndrome, without breaking their hearts. I just wanted them to love you and accept you and not worry about anything....I wanted so much for life to be "normal" for them, with no regrets about who you were.
I'd be lying if I said there wasn't initial shock when we told them who it was God had given us, shortly after you were born. But you know what I've found? Kids are resilient- they almost instinctively know that one little chromosome does not change love, and just like Jackson's little episode today, it took all of about five seconds for them to wipe their tears and move on. There is such a bond between you and your siblings, and as crazy as it sounds, it is almost stronger than the one they share with each other. Maybe it's because they love you so much and want to protect you from any hurts that might come in life, or maybe it's just because you're so darn loveable, but one thing I know- you will always, always be surrounded by siblings who adore you.
Loving you always,