It’s been five years since we met you on March 25, 2013.
Your labor was much quicker than your older brother’s and I couldn’t have been more thankful for that. You decided your entrance would go a little bit differently than the birth plan I had written, but I’m realizing more with years, it’s probably best I’m not in control, as I would have missed a lot of what my plan was missing.
You see I prayed for this baby that would fulfill my dreams. Dreams that didn’t involve an extra chromosome, which is what you surprised us with at birth. And every year when your birthday gets closer, I recall that evening we met you.
So much anticipation for your arrival, things going according to plan, then everything changed.
Followed by an abrupt, unexpected diagnosis of Down syndrome.
And so many tears.
In those early days, they were tears of sadness. Sadness because of what I didn’t know.
I didn’t know what that diagnosis meant for you and I put too much emphasis on something I didn’t know much about. Quite frankly, that diagnosis fogged my mind of what I knew to be true.
That you, my son, are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Those moments were stolen by the four letter F-word. FEAR.
Fear of what the diagnosis of Down syndrome would mean for your life. Fear of what others would think of you. Fear of your future. Fear of how the world treats people uniquely created like you. Fear of how much you would need us. Fear of how our lives would change because of this new diagnosis. Fear of what you would look like, and fear of what you wouldn’t be able to do.
Well, what I now know, is what that diagnosis did not do.
It didn’t and will not define you, Jack. My son. My biggest joy. My love. My best teacher. My little dancer and lover of music. The boy I needed so badly in my life, and didn’t know it. You've help me understand a different perspective. You've brought me closer to my Savior.
You’ve reminded me to trust. To surrender. To see others. To love and to be kind. To stay humble. To grow. To slow down. To appreciate the process and not focus on the outcome. To dance. To breathe. To not take the little things for granted. To care less about the opinions of others. To work hard. To ask for help. To be patient. To believe. To believe in others. To be in community. To celebrate.
As I used to search for books and people to tell me we were going to be okay, YOU tell me that each and every single day I walk into your room. Greeting me with that smile of yours and excitement to start the day. You showed me that the best thing I can give you is my love and that our family environment has made the biggest impact on you. Not an extra chromosome. You’ve looked at me with those beautiful brown eyes that are outlined in blue, and I hear the unspoken words, “Believe in me.”
You’ve shown us a whole world of people that believe in you too. You’ve inspired others to be better and for that I will continue to speak the truth of your value and purpose. Because our Creator said it best, “You are God’s masterpiece.”
Forgive me for my tears of sadness, please.
Forgive me for those fears.
Forgive me for my narrowly defined dreams and plans.
Oh, how I thought you would need me so much, but in reality it’s me that needs YOU.
In the past 5 years, I have learned a few things about Down syndrome but I’ve learned a lot more about YOU.
Happy Birthday, Jack. I love you more than you will ever know. You make me better.
John 9:3 "but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him."