Thursday, March 8, 2012

Simple Gifts

It's funny, after posting my latest blog today, I heard from so many people who have been there for the last 19 years, and actually, for many years before that even.
I will never forget my mom, coming to spend the "new baby" days with me. Telling me it was ok to cry, while teaching me how to take care of a baby and to be a mother. Because that's who Jared was first and for most,a baby,even if I had trouble seeing it at the time. I remember my big sister Cheryl, upon hearing of Jared's arrival,flying from DC into a snowstorm, and even when her plane was re-routed to another city, renting a car with a perfect stranger who was heading towards me so that she could take care of her little sis, just like when we were children. I don't know if she really knows what that meant to me, how much I needed her at that moment in my life. I remember my friend , Sharon, who came to the door the night we brought Jared home. The doorbell rang, and when I opened it, there she stood with champagne in her hand, arms stretched out ready to hold this baby, chipping away at the shame I had from having a baby who was just shy of perfect. And my sister, Kathy, who gave me permission to be mad, to say,"this sucks, this really sucks." funny, I don't think I have ever heard her say that word again. But I needed to be mad for awhile, and she knew that.
So, to the women in my life who were there when I needed them so damn much, I thank you. And I want you to know that, without your support and love and laughs, this journey would have been so much harder. I love you all.

Growing up With Jared: Passing T.ime

Growing up With Jared: Passing T.ime: So, yesterday was Jared's 19th birthday. I went through the day, kind of in split-screen mode: one side on the day and the other side on a d...

Passing T.ime

So, yesterday was Jared's 19th birthday. I went through the day, kind of in split-screen mode: one side on the day and the other side on a day 19 years ago. It went something like this:

Yesterday: Jared woke around 5:45, as he always does, made his own breakfast and got ready for school, walking out the door before 7 with his tupperware of chocolate gluten free cupcakes.

19 yrs ago: The doctors and nurses came in to tell me that my baby had many features associated with Down Syndrome. One doctor told me that we couldn't be sure that the child would talk, or when he would walk.

Yesterday: Mid-morning,Jared shared his cupcakes with his friends in science class.

19yrs ago: Mid-morning, I attended the "new mom" orientation (the one you had to take before leaving the hospital) with my baby, but making sure the blanket covered much of his face. I didn't want those moms, the ones with the perfect babies, to see mine.

Yesterday: Jared went to his work study at the nursing home, where the staff sang to him and an elderly gentleman slipped him a 5 on the sly for his birthday.

19yrs ago: I sat, crying in a hospital room, thinking that very little good lay before this child.

Yesterday: Jared took the bus to the YMCA, where he swiped cards for people and then worked out with his friend.

19yrs ago: The word, mongoloid, still lived in the reference books about our children.

Yesterday: At dinnertime, we dropped by the Y to get Jared on our way to his restaurant pick. As I walked in to get him, he was already heading out to meet me. I asked him how he knew I was coming. He said, something told him I would be coming and he wanted to meet me half way.

19yrs ago:  At dinnertime, I fed my son for the first time, and when we locked eyes, something must have told him that I would be meeting him; it would take awhile, but I would eventually meet him half way.

Yesterday: In the car on the way to dinner, Jared gave his brothers presents: a pack of m & m for his little brother, Bray, that he had received at his work study, and a watch for his other brother Jake, the one with the alarm that he can't seem to figure out.

19 yrs ago: Jared gave me a present that I wasn't ready for: a life where I would learn patience, compassion, and grace.

Happy Birthday to my son.