Saturday, June 16, 2012

Close Those Big Blue Eyes

This is a little bonus weekend post to thank you for being so awesome with your response to my last post. Thank you!


"Mama!"

She calls out to me wistfully, leaning into the sides of her crib as if willing them to disappear.

"Mama!" A more urgent call arises from the same girlish voice.

I walk the rest of the way into her pink nursery, loving the shy smile that she assumes when she sees me appear, wondering when she graduated from "meme" to "mama".

"Yes? Did you need something?" I ask her.

She answers me with another smile. I can see that she's tired but refusing to settle down, so I once again perform our nightly ritual.

I lift her frame, too slight to be a believable two and a half year old. I gently settle her down onto her pillow, brush stray blonde wisps out of her eyes, and tuck her quilted blanket carefully up under her chin.

She wiggles to bring her arms free of the constrains of the blanket and then waits for the song she knows is coming.

Go to sleep Addison
Close those big blue eyes
Go to sleep Addison
We'll play some more in the morning

My low alto tremors slightly in response to the huge smile that breaks over her face.

Addison, Carter, and Mommy too
Play some more tomorrow

She then begins to laugh. A low belly laugh shakes the blanket- the curls once again settle into her eyes, so I gently tuck them behind her pierced ears that are smaller than you might expect.

Go to sleep Addison 
Close those big blue eyes
Go to sleep Addison
We'll play some more in the morning

My voice is almost a whisper as I watch her unhindered delight. Happiness flings itself from her smile and settles firmly in my heart. Joy flicks like sparks from her eyes and sets afire my love for her.

In that moment she is my baby- perfect and whole. I don't think about her heart surgeries or her therapies or the orthotics resting on her dresser a few paces away. Her extra chromosome is simply an integral part of that moment as well as our lives- perfect, serene, divine.

It occurs to me while staring into her bright blue eyes that parenting doesn't involve worry for tomorrow or ten years from now. Parenting doesn't cause the words Down syndrome to decide the future for my Addison. Being a mother doesn't give me license to look into the glass ball of the next hour and decide how I'll respond then.

Being a parent means choosing my response for the now. Loving, accepting, relishing. There will be hard moments. There will be moments that make me want to give up and go into a profession that gives time off and bonuses. But it's OK because I only have to handle them one at a time. Each single pearl strung on the slight gold string should be counted and enjoyed- even the oddly shaped ones with defects because they are responsible for making the necklace that much more rare and unique.

While staring at the beautiful face of my daughter during bedtime, I know that this is one of the moments that will fuel me on through another day of collecting motherhood treasures no matter how difficult.

The next phase is coming too quickly- preschools, therapy transitions, peer acceptance issues, learning important life lessons. Why wish them closer by worry and fear?

No, this moment is all I need. One at a time with my little Addison. The next one will be here before I know it.

I shut out her light and tiptoe from her room.

I hear her sigh in content as the one thing that she wanted most in the world just happened for her. She responds to a good night song repeat performance as one might respond to winning the lottery. The small sigh quickly transforms into a slight snore as she closes those big blue eyes in preparation for another day of play.

I stand in the hallway, memorizing the timbre of each snore, promising myself that I'll tell her again tomorrow how much I love her, and praying that she'll have many more mornings to "play some more".

Because some strands of pearls are more delicate than others and should be treasured even that much more.



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