We're a family of soccer, pool, church, fun, and arguments. Plain and simple.
The other day I was chatting with a friend, Kris. We got to talking about Gideon. And I shared with her something I feel like I need to share here.
The summer before Gideon was born was, to put it mildly, H.O.T. It was even too hot to go to the pool sometimes. But we'd go. Of course.
I remember one specific family that summer. It was a couple with a younger daughter, maybe 10? She had SOMETHING going on. Cerebral palsy? Autism? I don't know. But I can specifically remember always seeing them at the pool and always watching them.
I weird mom watched that couple with the girl. They would carry her in the pool, letting her lie on her back and float and swirl her in the water. There was so much love and concern for their daughter. What hit me most was the thought, "that little girl has bonded her family stronger than most families." You could tell her parents were 100% invested in her, which made them invested in one another. What also hit me was, "that little girl was a very elite and valiant and special spirit, so her mission here on Earth is a protected albeit powerful one." And I was hit with the realization that her parents were, as well, strong and mighty spirits who came to Earth to help this elite spirit experience mortality, in her complicated body.
Strength. It was strength that I saw most in this family. From the daughter, from the father, and ESPECIALLY her mother.
And I felt respect and admiration for this family.
And as I rubbed my belly, knowing I was carrying a boy who was, as per his ultrasound, perfectly healthy, I thought, "That's great for them, but that's just not for me."
You see, I'm not cut out for that kind of a life. I was almost strangled by a guy with special needs when I was 7, so I grew up fearful of any and all folks that were "handicap." I never could have a normal and comfortable conversation with someone with special needs. Or with their parents even. They were all on a different level from me. I recognized they were on higher levels even. But quite frankly, a level I had zero interest in. Zero.
When Gideon was diagnosed with Trisomy 21, my world stopped. It stopped spinning. But it only stopped because it needed start to spin in another direction.
I IMMEDIATELY recognized the powerful spirit that is Gideon and that resides in his perfect little body. I also IMMEDIATELY recognized the love and trust that both he and our Heavenly Father have in me, to take care of Gideon here on Earth. And what I recognized even sooner, and feel every single day, is the KNOWLEDGE that Gideon and I were very, very, VERY close in the pre-life. Every time I hold him, my spirit burns inside. My spirit recognizes Gideon. It's such a powerful feeling.
And I am warming up to the truth that, just like that mother who I watched from a quiet distance, I too am strength. I saw her strong spirit as she held her daughter in the pool. Her fiercely loyal spirit. The past almost 15 months, I am learning that I have a strength that I simply didn't recognize before. The strength to do what is right for Gideon. For all my children. The strength to question doctors and therapists. The strength to clearly recognize for my children, the Lord's hand in their lives. The strength to feel comfortable with other "severely elite spirits and their moms." And most importantly, the strength to change.
Gideon gets me. He understands people. He's interested in his siblings. He's loving and patient and happy and kind.
If we're going to label Gideon as being "handicap" or a child with "special needs", I would suggest we are ALL handicap or we ALL have special needs. My world spins in another direction as I recognize that I actually have more issues than my son! I'm prideful, I'm impatient, I don't do everything I say I'm going to do. I have a hard time forgiving. I can blow people off. And as I recognize this about myself and SEE this as a handicap, I'm humbled. I'm softer. And it makes me more accepting of others.
Oh my gosh how Gideon has opened up a new level of life. And new sphere that was always there but that I never, ever, EVER recognized before!
And then it hits me. I have now joined in the ranks of parents who, in my mind, years ago, were "at that level" that I wasn't cut out for. And I realize it's not about being "cut out for." It's all about being gifted the KEY to that level to open the door to experience life in a way that REALLY lets you experience life.
Having a child with Down Syndrome is a gift. From Heavenly Father.