I don't get a chance to talk about my feelings a whole lot. I'm too busy. I'm raising boys, running a business, working a job and trying to make enough time for my husband, myself, and my friends so I don't lose my mind by going without free time. In those times of getting together with my friends and family, I don't try to avoid my feelings or avoid talking about Elijah and how I might be feeling about his progress. It's just simply that I run out of time. What's first and foremost in importance to me is the catch up- the fun, reportable news about a new craft project or how hard yoga was last week or the thing that my hubby said that pissed me off (Okay...not MY hubby. But A Hubby. Anyone's Hubby. The generic idea of a hubby who might possibly piss someone off. Not me, though. ...Not you either. Just need to cover my bases and make sure I point out that these are hypothetical things I might catch up on. You get it.) Since time usually runs out before I can even get to talking about how I might be feeling about Elijah's progress, I end up saving it for my blog. It's semi-cathartic to write it all down, and even though I usually don't hear back from 99% of the people reading this, I have some hope that by putting it all out there that maybe I'll give some perspective that wasn't there before, or possibly reach someone who is feeling exactly like I am- because there is comfort in that. As much help as it is to write it all down though, it's really not enough all of the time. I need feedback. I need someone to remind me when I'm having a down moment that Elijah is perfect, but that everything is going to take longer. And that just because it takes longer doesn't mean he won't do it all. That one day I will look back and think, I should have cherished it even more than I did. But, I just don't seem to have time for these conversations. So, I stay up late with a glass of
I made a commitment to myself to be honest and upfront about my feelings on this blog. There is a lot that I censor myself about. I censor myself because I don't want to hurt people's feelings. Sometimes, however, I will hurt someone's feelings by talking about my own. I am not always going to say the perfect thing- in life or on this blog. You are not always going to say the perfect thing either. (Again, a hypothetical "you") We will not always say the right, or the perfect thing. That is because I am human and flawed. In the past when I've talked about real-life scenarios for the sake of processing them or sharing them for others to process, I have inadvertently hurt a few people's feelings. I know this because they told me. One person even told me she can't read my blog anymore. This is tough for me. I have a lot of feelings about that, but I'll censor saying why.
Real life scenario: I hold my breath everytime I go out in public with Elijah, dreading when the question is going to come..."Oh how cute! How old is he?" When I say 17 months, I watch the wheels spinning in that person's brain- adding up why he isn't walking or talking yet. Sometimes people will go so far as to ask if he's walking or running or talking yet. Usually I just say, "No. Elijah has developmental delays, so it'll take him longer to do all of those things." I find that strangers handle this more gracefully than the words, "He has Down syndrome so it'll take him a little longer to do all of those things." I was at my mechanic last week and I had both of the boys with me. The guys were joking with Christian and admiring Elijah when the dreaded, "How old is he now?" question came up. Since I actually know these guys a little bit, and Christian even goes to school with one of the mechanics' sons, I gave the whole answer and told them that Elijah has Down syndrome. They, like most people, didn't know anything about Down syndrome and had a lot of questions/comments. There was the question of severity. He doesn't seem to have a very severe case of it. I always have to take a little breath before commenting on this one, because I really don't want to come off sounding like I'm trying to school someone or embarrass them or sound condescending. I shared that a person either has Down syndrome or they don't. There is no level of severity to it. Down syndrome is simply the existence of an extra chromosome in a person's cells. There are varying levels of cognitive ability and some people with Down syndrome can do a great deal with their lives: graduate from college, have a job, get married, while others are more dependent on a caretaker. The reality is that we just don't know what Elijah's cognitive ability is yet because he's too young. What I do know is that he seems pretty darn smart to me. He "gets" a lot of things. He is interested in and motivated by people, and quickly and easily reacts to them. I feel that he will have a great deal of cognitive ability, and so I say that (in this case, to the mechanics.) Immediately they seemed to relax. The idea of someone "suffering" or being "disadvantaged" (which Elijah is neither, in my opinion) is like the game of Hot Potato. People want it off their plate.
Trips out in public are sometimes a little more awkward, and I don't always want to answer the questions, but I get a sense that it's great for people to be seeing Elijah- that he is changing minds about how much of a "sob story" it is to have Down syndrome. I keep off of the heavier issues and save my feelings about it all for those cherished few conversations and this blog. And although the following pictures have absolutely nothing to do with this post, I just have to share a few cute ones we took with the boys last weekend.... :)
And my favorite one...
Oh yeah....and when I went to go pick up my car, the mechanic gave me 50% off.