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Thursday, March 21, 2013

To you, My Son

When I was trying to conceive, then miraculously pregnant, and eventually on bed-rest, I journaled. The journal wasn't for anyone other than my son and his future family. I wanted him to understand his story and also our conception struggles to aid him in his own future family planning.

The night I was placed on bed-rest, I wrote the following words to my son:

"I want you to know how much we love you. How we cannot wait to meet you. (Well, we can wait because we want you to be healthy). You are our special miracle and love you for who you are now and for who you will be 10, 20, 30 years from now. We will try our best to keep all hurt from you, but know the world is not without challenges. We love you so much and we tell you this every day. It is essential to always say those words, baby. I love you. We love you.


I love to celebrate birthdays and holidays. How many times have I wished Christmas came more than once a year? Or my birthday. Well, I used to wish for multiple birthdays but at some point after I’d exited my 20s, then I wasn’t too keen to celebrate any more than the requisite one. When I gave birth, I learned to celebrate life in different ways, to create celebrations. Today is, for my family, a celebratory day. In recognition of the 3 copies of the 21st chromosome, March 21st marks World Down Syndrome Day. My family has taken it as a day that is not just a day of awareness and education, but a day of celebration. Last year, our little prince chose his cake. Smart boy picked a lovely custard fruit tart. Win-win.


 So on this day, in honor of World Down Syndrome Day, I’m blogging a letter to my son.



             

To My Little Greek Prince, who is neither Greek nor real royalty,

I’m nobody’s perfect heroine—not by any stretch of the imagination. I’m not ashamed to say I needed saving, and I couldn’t do it myself. I couldn’t do it myself because I didn’t realize I needed saving. You, saved me.  Not on a white steed or in a car. You saved me just by being born.

The day you entered this world, I realized how little I knew about life, how weak I was, how ignorant. You made me a better person. You changed me in all the ways I needed to be changed, and made me wish that I’d been a better person, not because of you but before you.

Until you, I didn’t know what Down syndrome was. It was a term in a book and it didn’t apply to my life. It was ‘something’ that ‘happened to other people’. Not me. Not us. Not you.

I had your life mapped out before you’d even entered the world. You were going to be the President of the United States. You were going to replace Derek Jeter, the great shortstop for the New Yankees, and play professional golf as a member of the PGA like Rory McIlroy, your namesake. Imagine that; the president of the United States, an MLB shortstop, and a professional golfer all rolled into one.

I had a vision of perfect.

You showed me that there is no one type of perfect.

You taught me to celebrate life in a way that I probably never would have. I would have continued on through life not knowing I was shallow and not knowing I was ignorant. You challenged the person I never realized I’d become; someone who failed to appreciate life, someone who had become superficially focused on objects and things that didn’t matter.

You showed me that everything would be not just okay, but better than that.

And you showed me that Down syndrome does not define you. It is something you carry that makes you stronger. That’s no cliché. That’s a fact. You do not know the meaning of quit. Or no. or can’t.

So my brave, beautiful boy, continue to stand strong and brave in the face of the nays, because they are out there and they always will. Somedays they will try and plant whispers in your ear that say you can’t but you and I, we shall always look at each other and smile, knowing that you are indomitable, mightier than kings of old. And no one will put out your spirit.

I love you.

Happy World Down Syndrome Day, my little Greek prince!

Love,
Your Mommy

Question:
Are there any unconventional days of the year that you celebrate? And how do you celebrate?

28 comments:

  1. Christi, thank God you are a romance writer, because it really is the only profession for you. The love pouring off those words is palpable. Smart boy to choose that delicious dessert! We always remember Holocaust Memorial Day, in memory of my mother's family. \
    Rock on to your son!

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    1. Oh my god, Nancy...I am so, so, so touched. And I think I'll read your comment whenever I'm feeling disappointed in my writing. : )
      And I need to say that I think it is beautiful that you honor your mother's family in that very special way.
      Thank you for sharing.

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  2. Such a moving tribute to your son! I can surely tell he is the light of your life. Beautiful post, beautiful child. I hope your special day is filled with joy and laughter. We don't have an unusual day we celebrate (I guess we're pretty boring.) :)

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    1. Thank you, Jenna...he is. Our special day was indeed special! We capped it off with hippotherapy, which is one of his favorite things in all the world. Though, I'm not certain if it's the horse-riding he likes or feeding the horse a carrot.

      ; )

      And PS...trust me, boring is NOT to be underappreciated!

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  3. Christi,
    This is beautiful and made me cry again. What a gift to learn these lessons in a lifetime. I don't think Rory could have asked for a better mom. :)

    There are no unconventional days we celebrate, but we always take our kids to Minneapolis for a family weekend every Memorial Day weekend. The kids don't care that we do the same thing every year.

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    1. Thank you so much Samantha...for the kind words about the blog and for saying that about me as a mother. I love being a mother. I love being his mother. : )

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  4. Christi, that was so beautifully said. I've always believed becoming a parent will either break you or make you. You are so blessed to have such a wonderful little boy.

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    1. Ella,
      If parenting isn't trial by fire, I don't know what is...and thank you for saying that I'm blessed because I feel that way. I wouldn't have him any other way. I truly mean that. Oh, I wish things were easier for him, but without that extra chromosome he wouldn't be the same child. Does that make sense?

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  5. What a beautiful blog, Christi! And Rory is a perfect little man. Love and hugs to you both.

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    1. Thank you Lily. : ) He is indeed, perfect!

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  6. Lovely, Christi! I know Rory will treasure your words.

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  7. I couldn't agree more,Christi. Jacob has taught all of us in his family and in his world so much that we, also, didn't realize we needed to know.

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    1. Thank you for sharing, Jane. How funny how little so many of us knew about life until we were graced by their entrance into this world.

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  8. Bless you for your unconditional and undying love for your son. He will always be your heart. You are truly blessed.

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    1. Thank you Connie. I believe you've captured it better than I ever could. That's what it is...unconditional love. That was something else that I journaled about...not wanting to be a mother only if it was easy. : ) And then surprise! But, I wouldn't have had it any other way.

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  9. Christi- you have a very special guy. I think it's important celebrate anything. It's those little celebrations that bring joy to the world. It's all bringing a smile to the world.

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    1. Yes, Melody. You are 100% right!!! Unfortunately, I don't think I realized that until my son was born...hey, better late than never, right? : )

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  10. Beautiful letter. Beautiful mother. Beautiful son. Those above could not have said it any better and I honor you both on this day with happy wishes.

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    1. Thank you, Hanna. Having a child with special needs brings into a family, therapies, appointments with feeding specialists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapist...blood checks...the list goes on and on. And so often, I (and I know many of the moms I've talked to) feel guilty...like we're missing something. Why didn't I have that therapist for him/her earlier? Why wasn't he in hippotherapy before this? So your words make me feel like maybe I'm doing an okay job. Thank you.

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  12. Very sweet letter, Christi. Hugs. :)

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    1. Thank you, Andris. Hugs back on this wonderful day!

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  13. What a beauitful blog! You are such a wonderful mother. Don't you forget that. He is so lucky to have you!

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  14. Oh, Christi, I'm so late to the game, but I'm so glad I popped over tonight to read this. What a beautiful letter to your son. You are an amazing mom, and Rory is such a lucky little boy. I wish you all love and so much happiness on this wonderful day!!

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    1. And I'm so glad you popped over, Jerrica! Today has been magical so far. Here's to hoping the miracles keep coming! ; )

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  15. This is just lovely, Christi - thanks so much for sharing it with us!

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