Just in the last few weeks, I feel like my little girl is growing up so fast. I wish I could slow it down, didn't I just have her a few months ago? She's going to be three years old in just two weeks.
She's lost her baby looks and she doesn't even really look like a toddler all that much now. She's a little girl. A beautiful, smart, healthy and perfect little girl.
When I think of how many babies with Down syndrome are aborted, I can't help but wonder. Who wouldn't choose her? Who wouldn't want her? I would choose her again, and again, and again. She is such a joy to raise. It's hard when she misbehaves (which is a lot, she is almost 3!) because she looks so incredibly cute that it just feels wrong to discipline her. Even my tough-as-nails husband agrees. He's better at the discipline than I am, thankfully. Ryan will yell at anyone who dares to be mean to his sister (including when I tell her not to do something. He just told me recently, "She can do what she wants!")
She's growing up. She's getting (marginally) better about having her hair brushed. She tries to put her shoes on by herself. She repeats everything she hears, even if it's almost impossible to understand some of it (unless you're grandma!). She loves to be read to, especially Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? by Eric Carle. She loves to dance, she loves to sing, she still loves dogs and cats more than most people like humans. She has a great sense of humor and is surprisingly clever. She has friends, she loves babies, she colors at church in Sunday school.
But my favorite thing about Lauren Hope? Her ability to love. Unashamedly, unabashedly, truly, deeply, unconditionally love. We recently had a death in the family. Greg's uncle Carl passed away. He was such a great person, he loved the Lord, loved his family and thought Lauren was the best thing since sliced bread. When everyone gathered at family's homes in the days surround his death and funeral, I'd swear Lauren was the balm to open wounds. She hugged, she kissed, she smiled, she laughed, she loved.
I'd be lying if I said Lauren's future doesn't scare me. I get panicky when I think about Kindergarten, which is more than two years away. I worry about her being teased in elementary school, being accepted in high school. I think about her getting older and needing me to encourage independence when I know for a fact I'll want her with me always.
But one thing I never worry about is her capability to love. I know that long after we've left this earth, Lauren is leaving a legacy of love that few have done before her. Lauren brings out the best in people. She meets new friends at the grocery store, can charm even the most sullen cashier out of a sticker. I don't know if she will be "main streamed" in school, if she'll graduate high school with a regular diploma, attend college or hold a steady job. I don't know if she'll get married, though I hope she gets to experience the joy of romantic love. But I do know that she is changing her world. Maybe not the whole world, but her world, in the most positive way. We are so blessed to be her family.