From time to time, out of nowhere I have a moment. We took a trip the Shore over the weekend for my Sister-in-law’s wedding and were able to catch a beach day as a family the following day. Grady’s eyes didn’t care for the salty ocean wind as his eyes became watery as we sat out on the hot beach. Even in the shade protected from the wind he seamed so uncomfortable, so I retreated to the family’s condo and sat inside the majority of the day. I welcomed this break just to hold Grady and feed him without the responsibility of chasing our two year old all over the beach. Paul and I delegated our responsibilities and so it was. It was quite the reminder of how life has changed from the days of “gee how much tanning oil should I apply this hour!”.
Later in the day as it cooled off, I tried again to head back out to the beach. I set up shop in the shade and laid Grady on the blanket. I sat next to woman with a three month old, this little baby was holding his head up, could bear weight on his legs and stand up with assistance and was just exploring his surroundings. My Grady doesn’t do any of these things. And as I know all things come in time, and I am ok with that, sometimes I feel so alone. I felt alone on the beach for a moment, alone with Grady. These feelings of lonliness sneak up on me and prove to be a sinking feeling. I kept up my cheery demeanor for the surrounding family members excited to see Grady out on the beach. But inside I was feeling heavy, anxious and alone.
So I did what I only knew how, I decided to pray for a short second. I picked Grady up onto my lap. His precious little head leaned forward, instead of checking out the people all around him he focuses on playing with his hands, I softly kissed his head. I kept my lips locked on his sweet head and closed my eyes. As I lifted my head after praying for strength and giving praise for my healthy son, I slowly opened my eyes and looked up. Between the two older strangers sitting to my right, my eyes locked upon a little girl rocking back and forth. She appeared to have Down Syndrome. Wouldn’t you know God was listening to me. Between the Jersey Shore first pumping beach bar that we were sitting in front of, the swarms of bikini clad girls strutting up and down the beach or the techno music that echoed down the shoreline…God was listening, and in impeccable timing and by no mistake placed within a few feet from me a sweet little girl. I couldn’t make this up if I tried… That alone feeling I felt was wiped clear.
And that typical little 3 month old boy, well his mother just kept coming up to me and inquiring about how old Grady was, does he sleep through the night ect…. questions that where a smoke screen to the real question she was trying to ask…does he have down Down Syndrome. I get it… I knew where she was going, so I put T21 out there and as my inkling was correct she said …she knew. She was a Special Ed teacher and first time mother of that little 3 month old. She was sweet and kind and wanted to know all about our Grady! Perfectly placed, genuinly interested, and a sweet soul. The nature and openess of our conversation allowed me to ask about the little girl sitting with their company at the beach. I was informed that although all her physical characteristics match with that of Down Syndrome, she in fact had a deletion of one of her chromosomes making her only 1 in 4 in the world to have this specific chromosomal structuring.
I pray to a loving God, I pray to a God who listens, and for all the times that he answers me with “No”, he does answer with a “Yes”. My “Yes” came in the form of another little girl on the beach who wasn’t typical. My “yes” came in the form of the Special Ed teach who wanted to meet my Grady. My “Yes” came when God lifted me up in his presence at the same time I felt alone, at the same time I lifted my head from a moment of Prayer… just when I needed Him.