Oh, sweet mama… I recognize those tears. You’re probably still processing the fact that you’ve landed in Holland. We landed there, too, with our third son, Will. I want to tell you about a few of the windmills, tulips, and Rembrandts we have encountered in the last eight years.
Wilster is learning to read and write, counts fairly well, and speaks a little Martian (but we’re working on it)! He dresses up like a super hero most days. He loves to watch movies and jump on the trampoline. He loves to RUN, swim, and jump from the diving board (as long as he has his floaties on – if not, he is a starfish on daddy’s face)!! He LOVES going to Civitan camp every summer!! He is currently preparing to receive his first communion and has already made his first confession. He is mostly innocent and sweet, but as the middle of five children, let’s say he makes his presence known! He tells me all the time that Jesus is in his heart while putting his fingers over his chest in the heart shape. I have no doubt, little man! He loves taking hilarious selfies and playing on “WillBlueiPad.” He sings and dances a lot. Life is a party! He loves to play his ukulele and guitar. I can’t wait to hear the concerts we are about to have with Will on lead guitar, Bella on piano, Bo on Trombone, Eli on Violin and Hannah on jinglebells – anyone know an agent?
We mothers of children with Down syndrome are in a kind of sisterhood.
On the day he was born, I was filled with such a mix of emotions. I was so in love with that BEAUTIFUL boy… he took my breath away. I was already prepared for the fact that he would be born with Down syndrome and that a heart defect that would require open heart surgery. But instead of fearing for his life at the time, we were honestly full of FAITH that it would all work out; that God would use Will’s life to glorify Himself, and to ultimately bring each of us closer to Himself—that’s why we called him “God’s Will.”
The 11 weeks before his birth were a whirlwind of gathering information, going to doctor’s appointments and meeting new people – and tears. There were SO many tears, y’all. I was sad. God what is Your Will?!?! He answered me – “Be not afraid!!” I wasn’t mad or disappointed, but the unknowns scared me. I loved him even MORE than I did before we found out about his perceived “imperfections.”
So many questions: Would he look like his beautiful brothers? Did I do something wrong that caused sticky chromosomes or the heart defect? Would my friends/family accept him and remain in our lives? Would we have the help and support that we may need? Oh God, what will we need?? Guilt, pain, sadness… because, a mother’s love.
We mothers of children with Down syndrome are in a kind of sisterhood. No one else can quite understand what is in our hearts, what mothering feels like to us – even to our typical children. Motherhood to me after God’s Will is very different than before.
If I could go back and tell my sobbing, pregnant self something, it would be “Congratulations! You are now part of the cool mom’s club – you are one of the truly lucky ones!!!” And after the confetti and balloons settle I would say: “You did nothing to cause Down syndrome or the heart defect. In fact, you did something right and God saw fit to gift this little dude into your family. You are blessed!” He has never been alone. WE have never been alone. He is surrounded by people who love him, even people I don’t know personally. People don’t pick on Will – if anything, he may be one of the most popular kids in his school! In public, strangers are moved to come talk and interact with us BECAUSE of Will! New friendships forged BECAUSE of Down syndrome are uniquely special. We just get it.
Connect through social media—it will help for when you just need someone to relate to but can’t get out. We are here for you, Sweet mama.
Thank you, God, for this precious gift. He is so loved and so perfectly placed in the center of our family—two big brothers to pull him up, two bossy baby sisters to push him along and nurse him to health when he needs it. I don’t deserve any of them, but I pray that we can continue to take good care of them as long as God entrusts them to us. As I type this, Will is “helping” his six-year-old sister Bella practice her tap dance to “BreakyBreakyHeart.” Sing it Wilster! The Macpack party resumes! Maybe our agent is stuck on a plane to Holland…