Thursday, March 14, 2013


It was snowing hard that early December evening.  Your father drove his old Volkswagen beetle slowly through the dark, slippery streets.  The snow was heavy and wet and stuck to the wipers as they tried to keep up.

Thwack, thwack, thwack...

The hospital's lights loomed bright and your father smiled just as your mother let out a gasp of relief.  Four hours later, you arrived.

Your skin was smooth and soft.  Your hair was like a bit of dandelion fluff; so soft, barely visible, looking ready to fly off of your small head.  Your eyes were the slate color of the winter sky out the window.

Your mother reached for you and finally, lovingly, you were held.  She looked into your slate, gray eyes with her searching blue.  She saw only your loveliness, your sweetness; she did not see Down syndrome.  She saw her gorgeous, perfect child.

Your mother was so busy looking at your sweet face that she didn't see the doctor and your father leave the room.  We he returned, your father's mouth was a tight line and his eyes were troubled.  When he spoke, it was a choked whisper.  "He is broken.  He has Down syndrome.  We have to leave him here".  

Your mother clutched you tighter and angrily told your father that you were beautiful and perfect and definitely not broken and that you would most certainly be going home in the warm, blue snowsuit she had packed for you.

At that moment, the doctor returned with a nurse.  He was stern and the nurse insisted.  You were taken away as your mother cried.  The blue snowsuit went unworn.

The baby room was noisy and chilly.  With your big eyes and quick smile, you became a favorite of the nurses.  The held you for a moment or two.  They hummed while you drank your bottle.  But, with thirty other infants to care for, they had to be quick and you spent most of the time looking at the ceiling.  

You grew.

The nurses did their best.  Sometimes, you had a toy to keep you busy.  Sometimes, you just cooed to your fingers.  When you were two, you pulled yourself up to see all the other cribs like yours.  So many cribs.  So many babies like you.  It seemed you would stay in this room forever, but what does a baby know about forever?

On your fifth birthday, you had some ice cream.  You got into a car for only the second time in your life.  The day was snowy, like the day you were born.  The world was so big and bright that it scared you and you cried.  The tears dried and fear turned to curiosity as you arrived at your new "home".  

Your new room had green walls and just like in your baby home, there were many, many beds.  You cried the first night and for many nights after.  The blankets were itchy and you wanted your old room and your old crib.  You missed the sounds of babies.  Here, there were louder, uglier sounds.  It was scary.

Though you are surrounded by other children, you feel alone.  Sometimes, being in a crowd is the loneliest place to be. 

One year goes by, then two, then five and wonder if there is more to life than this.  Gray skies outside match the color of your eyes, but you fight to keep your heart full of sunshine.

You don't know it, but far away from your chilly bed, your mom is looking at your face on the computer.  This is not the mom who left you behind; this is the mom who won't stop until she is holding you.  Though she has never heard your cry, she cries for you.  

Though she's never held your hand, you hold her heart in yours.

This mom would cross any ocean to see your face and indeed, she will have to.

You don't know it yet, but today, your life has changed.

And so has your mom's.

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