Sometimes I look at Addison and wonder what she would be like if she didn't have Down Syndrome. I know that this is a dangerous place to go, but sometimes I just can't help myself. I think about how my life has changed so much this past year (we are fast approaching the anniversary of when we found out last fall), and I think of how amazing my daughter is, and this wonderment is a far cry from where it used to be.
When I was pregnant and waiting and hoping that the amnio was wrong- I would imagine what she would be like. Perfect (of course), beautiful, smart, way ahead of every developmental curve (yes I am very competitive so I saw no reason why my baby might not be as well)....When I heard that she had DS, my imagination went wild with what I thought my "new" baby would be like, and I didn't like it. Not one bit.
Now as I look back and study my daughter's life, I think of how my life might have been different if the amnio had been wrong:
-No 5 week NICU stay
-No G-tube surgery
-No heart surgery in Boston
-One Pediatrician instead of the bevy of doctors we have seen almost weekly
-No therapy/nutritionalist visits twice a week
-No constant frustration that she isn't advancing as fast as I think she should be
-I wouldn't look at Addison and fear for her future. I wouldn't look at her and wonder if she will be made fun of later in life by her peers.
-I wouldn't look at Addison and question whether she understands what I am saying to her.
-I wouldn't feel the need to over compensate with the dolled up outfits and such because I am afraid that when I take her places people will stop oohing over my cute baby and start asking what is wrong with her.
-I wouldn't have had my eyes opened to the beautiful world of children with special needs
-I would never have understood that every baby is perfect and wonderful, despite whatever labels the world might place on them
-I would not have learned to love so deeply- looking past exteriors and supposed intellect to love simply for the sake of loving- not for what I might receive in return
-I would not have had 5 weeks of training in the NICU of how to be a good mom and how to really take care of my baby
-I would not have learned the valuable lesson that my life is not in my control
-I would not have met some really awesome blogging friends
-I would never have realized that I love to write (whether I am good at it or not...that is another story (-: )
-I would have been one of those people who just can't seem to shut up about how brillant and wonderful their child is and is always pushing them to be the next greatest whatever until everyone around me just wanted to beat some sense into me to let my child just be a child.
-I would never have learned the contentment in parenting that I feel now as I watch Addison smoothly transition from month to month. (I used to always wish away the present and dream for the next big milestone. I don't do that anymore. Addison has taught me to enjoy today.)
Truth be told, as I look back, I think I got the better side of things. I don't think I would change things if I could. Because honestly, if Addison didn't have DS, she wouldn't be Addison- the baby that I love and adore. I can't even imagine a different Addison because I think the one that I got is pretty perfect. Yes, my mind wanders into dangerous territory now and again as I stare at my beautiful daughter and wonder how things might have been if she didn't have that extra chromosome. But that conversation with myself always ends the same way: with a deep thankfulness for the surprising path my life has taken. I couldn't be more blessed or more happy as a Mom. I know I say this a lot, but I have never felt this more in my entire life than I do now: God is so good. everyday.