I realized today that some of the very things I feared the most about Lauren have become her greatest treasures in my eyes.
I was so afraid that her slanted eyes would look so different from mine. Truth is that her eyes are a bright vivid blue with gorgeous Brushfield spots. They look nothing like mine but they are absolutely beautiful.
I was terrified that her tongue would stick out. When she smiles her tongue comes just past her teeth, her eyes light up and I would swear she glows.
I was sad that she'd probably walk late. She just started walking this week at almost 2 and a half. We are ecstatic! I can't imagine being happier if she'd done it earlier, what would it even matter?
I wanted to know immediately if she'd go to a special school or if she'd be able to be in school with her brother. She is going to a special education preschool, but her brother will be in a program at the same school. They'll ride the school bus home together.
I was so afraid of being "that family". Different. We are different. And I don't mind at all. Lauren draws people to her, mostly in a good way. She makes people smile left and right and we often have people stop to share stories with us about their own loved ones with Down syndrome. She makes friends wherever we go. There is no blending in with Lauren Hope! And the few times we've felt judged or stared at in a not-so-nice way, we brush it off and feel so lucky that we got her and they didn't.
I was afraid I'd never get to experience what it was like to really have a daughter. Ha. Lauren is all things girl- sugar, spice, everything nice. Add in some snips, snails, puppy dog tails, and a big helping of diva. I don't picture her teenage years being any different. Is it crazy that I want to have arguments about boys, clothes, makeup, friends and homework? Because I do. (Please remind me of this in about 12 years).
I'm finding that Down syndrome isn't scary. It isn't something I spend my life wishing away. Most days I am honestly so thankful that our Lauren is so special. Because she is. I can't explain it. If you've met her, you know. I'm not sure why I have been trusted to be her mom but I'm damn sure I'll try my hardest to be worthy.
I accept her for who she is. Abilities. Disabilities. It's all the same to me. I think most Down syndrome parents will tell you that at one point they were sure that their child would be the smartest, most advanced child with Down syndrome that ever lived. I know I did. But Lauren's not, and that's okay.
She has a couple signs. She says a handful of words. She just started walking (holding onto one hand) and two and a half. She doesn't know her colors. She doesn't know how to count, to say her ABC's.... On paper she's honestly not much to write home about. But her soul radiates love, hope and joy. Her smile can light up a room. Her personality can bring sunshine on the cloudiest of days. Her eyes show a soul filled with all things great. She is Lauren Hope. And I'm so glad she's mine.