A Letter to Myself
Hey. I know how scared you are right now. I know that your heart is beating a million times a minute and you are holding back buckets of tears. I know that you wanted this moment to be so much more than it is and much more than this picture captures. I know that when you saw and held your son for the first time you wanted to feel love and joy, but instead you felt nothing. And I’m so sorry.
But you know what, it’s all going to be okay. I know you can’t see it now, because you’re covered in pain, but one day your going to love him. One day, after you dig deep into your own soul and learn about your self and your brokenness your going to discover that what you are longing to feel, the connection you so desperately desire, is called unconditional love. And the little boy wrapped up in the blanket came here to teach you all about it.
But he couldn’t do if he came here like all the other little boys. He would have to be different. God gave your son something extra. In order to save you, he’d come to this world with Down syndrome.
Someday, you will see the beauty in God’s plan. Down syndrome is what scares the hell out of you and makes you cry. And yet, it is the one thing that will eventually heal you. I know you don’t feel it today, but someday you will fall head over heals in love with that little bundle and you will experience more joy because of him than you could ever imagine.
And you know what else, that man standing beside you, the one you choose to marry twenty years ago, he’s going to be the rock. Even though on this day you’re not even sure you like him anymore much less love him. But he’s here because he’s got the strength to stand next to you, even in your darkest moments, when you are mean and distant and not at all nice. He’s going to work his butt off to pay for you to be able to hire a nanny and another nanny and another so you can try to run away. And those women are going to care for your son and take care of him until you are able. And your husband is not going to run away, even though you haven’t gotten out of your robe for months or put on a stitch of make-up.
And your family is going to accept this child and love him when you can’t. They are going to show up and clean your house and your garage and wash your clothes and change diapers for years. And there are going to be a ton of friends who will rally around you. Friends that you haven’t seen in forever will show up with food and they will rescue you and buy you lunch and let you slobber on them when you think you can’t handle one more day of your crazy life. And there’s a whole bunch of new friends heading your way. People who will understand what it feels like to want to punch people in the face when they tell you that “God only gives special kids to special parents.” There’s so much good and joy coming to you, and yet I know today you just can’t see it.
Today is not a day like you see in the movies. Today you just want to cry. So go ahead. Let those tears fall onto that little’ boy’s cheeks. He can handle it. He’s ready and willing and able. He has everything he needs to do his job, and then some. And he knows what’s ahead, and he loves you anyway.
Oh and one other thing, I know you are obsessed and worried about getting your pre-baby body back. But here’s the truth, your post-baby body is beautiful. You should try to love it. Flaunt it. Hell, even wear the bikini, because it’s it might not get much better. So by all means, eat the chocolate!
Your slightly-older-and-just-a-bit-wiser self
Today James turns nine. When I look at this photo and see the emptiness in my eyes I am grateful for the journey that I have traveled and am reminded of the Ernest Hemingway quote, “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
Wherever you are today on your own journey, no matter how painful or lost or disillusioned you may feel, I want to tell you that time and acceptance and dessert help. Along with prayer and a really great therapist. And one day it will be better. One day you will look back and be thankful for who you once were because she lead you to who you are today.
Happy Birthday James. And thank you for teaching me the true meaning of unconditional love. Xo.