Apologies to those who have been looking for new posts on my blog – the holidays have made it much more difficult to find the time to think of things to write about, much less actually sit down to write them. I’m going to blame my sporadic posting partly on the fact that last week I left for six days on a trip with my mom and my sister – a gift from mom to us to celebrate our 40th and 30th birthdays (please ignore the fact that I’ll be turning 41 in eleven days – the youngest special’s arrival delayed our trip).
We spent two days in Miami and then went on a cruise (my first) to the Bahamas – also known as the Barf Boat, Emesis Excursion, Yack Yacht, and a variety of other clever names that Mr. Andi created because he was quite certain I was going to get sick (based on prior experience with me on his boat here on the gulf coast). I boarded the ship with a plethora of nausea defenses – Sea Bands, meclizine, a bottle of ginger root, and Benadryl as a last resort so I could just sleep through the whole trip if nothing else worked. I survived, didn’t get sick, and had a great time. We relaxed on South Beach (I earned a free glass of wine for checking in at Tapas on foursquare – whoop whoop!), shopped, had massages at the hotel spa, ate a lot, haggled with people at the straw market for “Coach” purses, and even convinced my normally reserved mother to sing karaoke. It was relaxing, but not (why do you always need a vacation after a vacation?), and lots of fun.
The thing that struck me when I returned home on Monday, other than the fact that my oldest child didn’t miss me at all, (I called her in from the yard when I got home and she yelled back “Is it important?”) was the way Nathan looked. I see him every day and I don’t see Down syndrome. I see an active boy that grins constantly. I see fat thighs and gorgeous blue eyes. I see a gigantic poofy booty (a result of the cloth diapers I’m using – no, I’m not crazy or a tree hugger), and cheeks that are eternally rosy. What I saw when I returned home on Monday was an adorable little boy…with Down syndrome.
It reminded me a lot of the day – I’m not sure now when it was – that I looked at the scrapbook from Sarah Kate’s 53 day run in the NICU and was shocked to see a terrifyingly thin and pitiful body of a smaller-than-she-should-have-been preemie (no kidding – her body really did look like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings movies). God gives you love goggles when you’re a mom, so your baby girl is beautiful, even when she isn’t. And your son with Down syndrome is too cute for words, and looks completely typical, even when he isn’t. He remains that way until you see a photo with the telltale features or you leave for six days and are surprised by the obviousness of it when you walk in the door.
My baby boy is still just as beautiful to me as before I saw him clearly (as is my no-longer-a-baby girl), but that instant, when I was able to more clearly see what other people see, gave me pause. It was like being on the outside looking in, if only for a moment.