Thursday, June 14, 2012
Last night, I went out and bought one of those air beds because my parents are coming soon, and the futon is just not big enough. On a previous visit, Dad had gotten up quickly and proceeded to dump mom onto the guest room floor, so I think their sleeping arrangements need to be made a bit safer. So, back to my story...As I drove home, blowup bed next to me, I remembered, 19 years ago, buying a sleeper couch on what turned out to be the day before Jared arrived into this world. Like now, we needed an extra bed because a new baby was coming, and with a new baby come guests. Guests like my mom and my dad, my sisters and brothers, friends,... I remember setting up the sleeper couch, filled with excited anticipation of the arrival of the baby boy who was due any day. A day later, Jared came, and my life changed. I'm glad for the bed, for the guests that came. When they arrived, however, it was not to celebrate exactly, but to console a young mom who, frankly was pretty scared and devastated at the swift turn of events. One of the first guests to arrive was my mom. I still can picture her, all those years ago as I walked down the stairs of the townhouse and saw her sitting cross-legged on the pull-out couch with my tiny baby looking up at her. She was taking each arm, each leg and moving them around, talking non-stop to this baby with some of the silliest faces I had ever seen. She was treating him like a baby, like her grandchild, not like an individual with Down Syndrome. She was playing Mozart and waving 2 or 3 of those shiny mylar(sp?) balloons just within his sight. "Stimulation!" she said in that no nonsense way of hers, that voice known to me for 26 years. We laughed then. I remember, because I wasn't laughing a lot those days. "Talk to him all the time," my mom told me. "Expect him to do everything, and he will." I took her advice, and I have been talking to Jared all the time. I have expected him to read, to play, to do his laundry, to stay home alone, to have a girlfriend, to go to the prom, to be on TV, to be a big brother, to graduate, to work, and he has, and he will. So the bed is ready for the arrival of guests this weekend. My mom and my dad, my mom who has always expected and demanded the success of her children and of her grandchildren, and my dad, who was there to hold me when I cried in the hospital 19 years ago. I expect he will provide a shoulder for me again this weekend as Jared walks across that stage, and I know that Mom will be standing next to me cheering for that boy. I ordered some balloons. I made sure to order a shiny one too. She'll like that, I think.