Well, NOW I can't sleep. I'm filled with a mixture of emotions, but strangely...excitement (?!?) is one of them. That doesn't sound crazy just yet because I haven't told you why.
Tonight, I got a private message from a friend I haven't seen in awhile asking if I could talk. My instinct flashers started going off. I think I know what she might say. Then it came, This might sound weird, but do you have a child with Down syndrome? Chills. Then the real news, We just found out our baby has Down syndrome. I insisted on talking on the phone. I wanted, no needed, her to hear my voice on this one. And I couldn't wait to say it:
It is going to be okay. I promise.
My friend and her husband are in the midst of the heartbreak of the loss of expectations. I know this heartbreak well, because I lived through it too. The lack of understanding of what it all really means- for the baby? For a sibling? For us as a couple? For us individually? It is completely overwhelming. No parent ever wants their child to have to face greater challenges. But, this is what I told my friend: Nothing in this world has taught me more or brought me more joy than having my whole world turned upside down by having Elijah. I'm not saying I love him more than Christian- because I don't. What I understand, and every Mother of more than one child understands, is that you love each child a little differently. Christian keeps me on my toes- I have to be super consistent with him or he will take advantage. He's strong willed, smart, creative, independent and active. Elijah keeps life in perspective for me- things don't come easily for him, but he manages to handle it with grace- sometimes with a smile and sometimes with a complete melt down. He's funny, intuitive to others' feelings, affectionate, bright, and has the superpower gift of making everyone around him fall in love with him.
I love each of my boys differently, yet equally. It reminds me of a beautiful children's book that a friend gave me. In the book, one boy asks his Mom if she loves him best? And she responds that she loves him like the crackle of a blazing fire, like a horse dashing through the tall grass, like a sunrise just breaking the horizon--Like the color red. To her other son, she says that she loves him like the calm of the low tide ocean, like a song as it softens before a swell, like the sunset as it fades from the sky--Like the color blue.
The author never says it, except for in the title, but the beauty is in the color that is made from her loving them both. The mixing of the red and the blue. The purple. I Love You the Purplest.
I know my friend is grieving a loss- because she is not getting the baby she expected, but I'm strangely feeling a little excited for them. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to put it into words perfectly, but to say that it's not the sum of the things that Doctors say it is, and it's not the sum of things Google says it is, it's the unexpected...and along with that comes a whole new world. Sure, there are times where I'd like to chuck "this whole new world" out the F'ing window. But, most of the time, I'm blessed by the people who came into my life as a result of having Elijah. I'm grateful for the times where I'm required to slow down, because he just doesn't go that fast...where in slowing down, I also smell the flowers and notice the birds and take an extra deep breath.
I talked to my friend on the phone for a long time, and I hope I gave her some comfort. I hope I gave her a sense of balance- because the medical profession, and the text books and the internet searches don't give the balance of the whole picture. To those of us who live this everyday, we know that the whole picture is still a Family- with ups and downs and wins and losses. It's not what the ignorant or uneducated ones think and it's not what the intellects and highly educated ones think. It's just different. Like purple.
At some point, there was just red, blue and yellow. But then someone found that when they mixed the colors together, they got something different- yet equally beautiful. Maybe that's why I'm excited for my friend. Because she's getting something equally beautiful, just different.
Different doesn't mean better or worse. It means unlike what you had before. So, to my sweet, but scared friend, I want to say again: Try not to worry too much. It is going to be okay. I promise.
You will love her the purplest.