My parents left yesterday.
They don't get a chance to visit very often, because the distance between Wisconsin and Vermont is pretty far and if you're going to buy a ticket you want to be able to stay more than a short weekend because of the extreme hassle it takes to get out here. Thus, visits are few.
When I go back home to visit, all it takes is stepping inside the door of their house to instantly feel like I'm in high school again. No matter that I'm married with children- I feel instantly transported to a different time in my life.
When my parents come to my house to visit- it's a whole new level of weird. I look around, see my life from their perspective and think- how did I get here? I have two kids? What? This is actually my house that I own and am responsible to maintain? When did I grow up? I feel kidnapped by adulthood.
I spend the visit proving to my parents that I've defeated those bad habits that they used to get after me for...and without fail oftentimes those bad habits show off that they also got married and produced some baby bad habits of their own.
You know- I'm married- have two kids- a house and a masters degree- a mailbox full of bills and only two things make me feel actually grown up instead of just "playing house":
1. My parents coming to visit me
2. My membership to Costco (something about the ability to buy in bulk really makes me feel like I've arrived in life...and HELLO free samples)
My parent's visit caused me to step back and think about how far I've come since I used to live at home with them.
As a little girl dreaming about my future, I never sat around and wished and longed to have a baby with Down syndrome. I never hoped and dreamed that almond shaped eyes would become something that I would treasure. I never wanted to be a stay at home mom. Writing about my children- advocating for my daughter- those things were never dreams and goals of mine. In fact if you had told me then that that is what my future would look like, I probably would have been more than seriously depressed as I sought to do everything possible to change my horrible "fate".
I wanted to be a professional musician making good money playing with an orchestra. I wanted to be the best and wanted everyone to know that. I wanted perfection and glory (and most likely no kids...but if I did perchance have a baby, I wanted that baby to be THE BEST and SMARTEST).
And yet, here I am-a stay at home mom engrossed in the world of special needs and mothering. My days are spent changing diapers, feeding, bathing, lots and lots of therapy, picking up a gazillion toys, laundrying (repeat). The most music I get in my day is the half hour music lesson I give Addison every night. Perfection is being able to put Carter's diaper on just right so that in a half hour his entire outfit isn't soaked through (boys are so much harder to diaper than girls). Glory is my husband getting home at the end of the day and have him recognize that the house is still standing- the kids are still alive- the laundry is clean- and his dinner is ready.
And yet even though this is so different than I imagined, I am happy. Probably happier than I've ever been before in my life.
I think back towards what I thought I wanted and I can't remember why I thought an audience's appreciative applause at the end of a concert would be sweeter than a little girl who likes to clap for herself after attempting to stand yet again. I can't imagine life without my new nurturing role, and I can't picture myself NOT having Addison and Carter in my life. Honestly, I can't picture myself not having a baby with Down syndrome.
I have new dreams and goals. Dreams that perhaps I can make a small difference in the world through my daughter's life. Goals to change perception of having a child with special needs. Dreams that I can raise two well adjusted, warm hearted children to adulthood.
It turns out that happiness isn't getting everything that you've always wanted. It's accepting everything you're given, adapting, growing- and simply enjoying life's littlest pleasures.
Like almond shaped eyes. a 7 week old's smile. my morning cup of coffee. another great morning run. fresh smelling laundry hot out of the dryer. kisses from Addison. sleep. constant texts throughout the day from friends. a visit from my parents. celebrating accomplishments. the rise and fall of a sleeping baby's chest. Addison deliberately waving goodbye to me whenever I tell her "no" (seeing comprehension). pudgy baby thighs. the leaves changing colors and swirling around in the fall wind. baby coos.