What a month it has been! Every day we are getting to know the little angel that has taken up residence in the bedroom next to ours. Every day we are learning what it means to be new parents and those entrusted with a special gift. I am already amazed at how fast she is growing. I tell Charlie all the time that I feel she is looking into my soul when she stares me down with those beautiful blue eyes. It’s like she is making sure I see her for who she is, instead of the label some people will see when they look at her.
At first we were bombarded with information about Down Syndrome, letters and books and pamphlets. Some of it comforting, others too difficult to read even now. It took me a month to read the letter from the geneticist listing all the possible problems she could encounter. One video left me with two ideas that have stuck in my mind. One was a doctor describing how this change can affect your entire family. He said, “You have to make a place in your family for the disability, and then you have put the disability in its place.” Immediately, I thought, “Yes!” This disability will NOT define us, it will be one part that will determine a few twists and turns, but at the end of the day they will not say, “Charlie and Latricia have a child with Down Syndrome.” Instead they will say, “Charlie and Latricia have an amazing daughter that brings joy to everyone she meets.” The second thing I learned from that video is just because Lila has an extra chromosome, it doesn’t mean that she didn’t inherit other things from us. Certain physical traits, even things like intelligence and athletic ability, are still there. Some people just forget to see them because of her beautiful, slanted eyes or perfect nose with a little less of a bridge. I promise that I won’t forget to look. I will see the footprints that she chooses to leave.
Tomorrow, I turn 30. Years ago, I told myself that I would be a mother one way or another before I hit that milestone. As we tried and tried to get pregnant, praying for that thin pink line every month, that dream seemed less and less likely. And then it happened. All of the tears I had cried during our battle with infertility seemed silly as I saw her move around on those ultrasounds. From the other side, the journey always seems easier. I’m sure that, years from now, I will look at this time and think the same thing. Why did my heart feel so heavy for so long? How could I have wished for anything different than my little Lila? Even before we heard the words Down Syndrome, she already made our family better.
Some days my heart still hurts for those things that may never be part of our story, and just as quickly I am reminded of my little Lila’s strength.
When she was just eight days old, this 6 Pound baby decided it was time to set the bar high. She rolled over! Something one doctor wanted to label a “random burst of energy” now happens every day. It’s like she’s looking up at me saying “Don’t count me out Momma, we will show them all together.” and my heart says “Yes, Lila we will.”
As I was getting Lila’s nursery ready, I was searching for something to put on her wall. A saying that would describe the little girl with the strong kicks that were helping me get to know her before I saw her face. I came across this, and it seemed perfect. Today, I believe it even more.
My little Lila is already moving mountains.