Learning to walk the tightrope of motherhood...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Showing off...

I know there are a lot of proud moms out there. And, I know that not everyone is totally into every little milestone that babies reach...even MY baby! (gasp!) However, I have to tell you that I feel a strong need to brag about my baby, show her cuteness to random strangers passing by, and let others soak up a little bit of her snuggli-ness. I may come off as a bit self-absorbed and pushy, but here is why...
I want to build up a "bank reserve of acceptance" of some sort in my heart for my daughter.
Even in this age of increased education about Down syndrome and ever-expanding opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome (and other intellectual disabilities), prejudice still exists. Begin just by considering the percentage of women who, when told that their unborn baby has Down syndrome, choose to abort the pregnancy--a number that I've read is around 90%. Further, consider how you might feel if time and attention was being "taken away" from your child at school because a child with a disability was in the classroom. I hope that you can see how your child might grown in their acceptance of others through this experience, but I imagine it might challenge you in some ways.
Anyway, I mention this because a friend recently shared with me some hurtful comments she overheard being made about her child. I know that in the future I will have my own batch of comments to face. And, I know that there will even be times when I won't be able to shield Meredith from these remarks...there will be some that she will hear and have to overcome on her own.
But...she's so perfect! She is so beautiful! She is making wonderful progress! I imagine that, at this point, unless we've shared with you that she has Down syndrome or you frequently work with children with disabilities, you probably wouldn't even know. So, right now, please indulge me. Listen to me talk about all the little stepping stones we pass along--rolling over, laughing, and maybe even starting food soon! Let me enjoy the random strangers in Target who stop me and say, "Oh, she has such gorgeous hair!" And help us build our "reserves" so that when the difficult times come, we have a cushion of positivity to help us bounce back.

Monday, September 6, 2010

What is love?

Oh baby don't hurt me. Don't hurt me, no more.

Sorry...just had to get that little lyrical break out of my system. :-)
Now, more seriously...
Love has been on my mind a lot lately. I recently had a good friend ask me what I thought love meant, and I have a bridesmaid's dress hanging in my closet for a wedding in October. So, I've been thinking a lot about my relationship with my husband, what our love is, and how incredibly lucky I am.
So, I think that love often gets mixed up with a whole lot of other things, especially lust and romance. You've all heard the lecture given to teenagers about love vs. lust, so there's no need to repeat that. But, I think romance is sneakier, and sometimes it sweeps people off their feet and gets mistaken for love. Chocolate, roses, chocolate roses...that stuff is all wonderful, but it's romance...the glitzy make-up the love wears when you just meet someone or when you're dating. Romance is important and there are days when love should wear that make-up. But I think love is more of a "I just rolled out of bed on Saturday morning" kind of thing. It's not always something you want to share with the public, but it is a simple thing to treasure, and a blessing to be grateful for just the same.
When I think about my marriage with my husband, there are a couple of key phrases that seem to sum it all up for us. This is our love:

"Nobody has more fun than us!" Love is making the monotonous fun. It is those silly little spontaneous moments, on the way back from the grocery store or while painting the living room, that build your relationship. They are inside jokes and plans gone awry. Try explaining these moments to anyone, or even trying to recall one to share with a friend, and you'll be stuck. But, they are money in the bank of your relationship.

"Honey, troubles!" My sister just reminded me of this one this weekend. Last spring, when my hormones were ALL out of wack due to pregnancy, there was this one night where the toilet got clogged. I waited and then gave it the ever-optimistic second flush, hoping that just a little more power would suck everything down. Of course, it didn't, and the water started rising and spilling out over the toilet. This is when I yelled the only thing that came to my mind: "Honey, troubles!" And of course, my hubby came running. I started mopping things up, only to knock over the shelf behind the toilet. The adventure finally ended with glass blobs, that had been sitting on a shelf, splattering all over the bathroom, on to the lid of the toilet (where you can still see the scrapes), and on to the floor. My point of all this, however, is that there will be rough times. And there will be times when it seems like it's just one rough thing after another. However, by calling on each other, and teaming up, you might be able to get through your adventure with a minimal number of tears.

"We make a good team." I feel like we've been practicing this phrase a lot lately, as new parents. In fact, I had thought that it was a relatively new phase of our relationship. But, then I remembered that this is actually how we got together. We started dating while teaming up as RAs to organize activities while in college. One of us had the big idea, the other ironed out the details. One did posters and publicity, the other got the money and bought supplies. We have just taken these practices and expanded them to meet the needs of our relationship. In a relationship, you really have to be able to share things with your partner...the silly little thoughts inside your head, the great big worries in your heart, and even the chores around the house. You have to be willing to let yourself go a little bit and know that your partner will be there to catch you. Often, this is harder than being there to do the catching. But, in being vulnerable, you learn to become stronger together.

So, dear friends, in your relationship, know that there will be moments when you will scream, "Honey, troubles." However, if you work together, and celebrate the fact that you "make a good team", hopefully you'll have many, many moments where you find yourself thinking, "Nobody has more fun that us!"