I remember the day it happened. I walked into her house like any other time (without knocking).. except this time my hands were full of flowers for her in one hand and my two youngest in my other. It wasn’t but two weeks after she had her third child and she was already cooking something yummy in her kitchen and offering me her famous iced tea. (well its famous to me at least) She reads me well, and offers me a glass before I even get a chance to snuggle her new bundle. Grady was so excited to see the baby as was June. He hurried over to the couch and got right up, waiting to hold the little babe. His hands were raised above his lap and palms faced up and out as if he was welcoming his chance. I hollered into the other room to my friend, is it Ok that Grady holds him… she said (without hesitation) “of course” …
IT was then… I placed that sweet baby, not my own… into his arms… I wish I had a photo to share but my words will have to suffice. His tiny hands and fingers gently touched his nose, and fingers… he leaned forward with the sweetest grin and gave him a kiss, and popped his head up and smiled from ear to ear. he gently ran his hands up and down his head for a few moments until he let me take him back….He was in baby heaven.
That moment right there, it replays in my mind and has brought me to ugly cry tears this past few months time and time again. It might seem like nothing big, but to this mamma, and her definition of friendship and trust… it was everything.
It was in my early days of my prenatal diagnosis that I saw my friendships start changing, or maybe it was the way I viewed my friends or the way they viewed/reacted/responded to me and my journey.
Some put me on a pedestal as I if I was the second coming, bearing a child that was different, they praised me and it made me cringe… I mean, it was nice and all but it was a constant reminder that what I had was different from what they had and c’mon do we always have to talk about it. Sometimes even what seemed to be of good intentions was really a red flag to avoid and retreat…. I was just a mom (a truly imperfect mom) with a child with a different set of needs from their child after all. It’s too much work to live up to any heightened level of admiration because of one extra chromosome. I will fail you, more than once… my humanness was inevitable … they slowly disappeared or lingered for a good show.
Then to this day, when I bring Grady around some other
friends and family acquaintances they do one of two things, they comment on how cute he is all the time then they constantly hover around their child when he is near or around as if he is going to lash out at any moment with a fit of rage. He isn’t contagious and he doesn’t need a helicopter putting him on radar either. I see it, when they don’t think I do, they pull their kid back as he walks toward them, they watch closely, their hands like a hovering tennis racket ready to ping away his next move… Is he unpredictable? perhaps sometimes…. HE’S 4! But the parents be it whatever you want to call it… their movements make me uncomfortable, uneasy and break my heart… they have made it clear…
And then their is friendships like my friend who had her baby… who trusted me enough to know I would watch Grady with her newborn, she never peaked in the other room just to check…
We rarely if ever talk about down syndrome… or harp on differences… we talked new baby, business and our next dinner shenanigans …she gave me a good hug goodbye that day and about sealed my heart with love with that experience (she was unaware of it’s impact till months later)….
It’s all about trust in one another. Not that our kids are always going to be perfect or well behaved… but that we trust one another to do the right thing should that happen but in the meantime… we deflect helicopters with hugs and call it a day.