As many of you know my little man, my little hero, has Down syndrome. I found out two days after he was born and we remained in hospital for three weeks. However that story has already been told, we are now onto a new chapter.
Elijah is now 11 months old and life with him is a constant education. I am always told how much slower he will be than ‘typical’ babies of the same age. So what can Elijah do? He can sit, he’s a little wobbly. I wouldn’t walk off and leave him sitting as he does have a tendency to get excited, wave his arms around like a lunatic and topple over. He commando crawls and can get up quite a speed; he’s found the cat flap so I need to watch that he doesn’t make a break for freedom. He gets on his hands and knees, rocks backwards and forwards, beaming with happiness, then flops forward and commandos himself off on a new adventure. I’m fairly certain he would win gold at raspberry blowing if only the Olympics would accept it as a sport. He explores the world with a gentle, tentative flick of his fingers, this turns into a stroke and then quite possibly a grab. Ask my cat, she knows. Oh, I know too, I’ve resigned myself to the fact I’ll most probably be bald by the New Year. He laughs beautiful, beautiful giggles. A game of round and round the garden, the anticipation and the final tickle reduces him to a giggling mess. He can hold onto the side in the swimming pool and I can let go of him, he kicks his legs and waves his arms like mad in his own swimming style while I hold him. He knows what kiss means and will kiss (lick) me. He babbles, he pulls himself to a sitting position on my low coffee table, he blows raspberries on my cheek, he touches my face and melts my heart and he smiles. He barely stops smiling. His cheeks must hurt. When he smiles his entire face lights up, I have never known anything like it. It is like moonbeams have collided with sunshine and radiate from his whole being.
Maybe he is a wee bit slower, I don’t know how far along he would be if he didn’t have DS. Does it bother me? Occasionally, sometimes I compare him to other babies far younger than him, seemingly doing much more. Then again some babies spend all day screaming, some babies spend all night screaming, some babies are moody. Not Elijah, whether that is down to DS or not who knows, he has his moments but the majority of the time he is a pleasure to be around. Yes it takes a bit more work; I have to spend more time with him doing physio or play/ education. Yes he has more medical appointments than most and more risk of heart defects, hearing issues, sight conditions and a variety of other medical conditions which so far we have escaped. As a single mother it can be tough, but he is worth every bit and more. My point is that there are so many negative connotations with DS. If I had found by pre-natal testing I would have been terrified, I would never have dreamt I could cope. But I do, and I love, I love the very bones of him.
So do I wish he didn’t have Down’s? Absolutely not. By asking me that you are asking me if I want a different son. He may not be what society deems as perfect but in my eyes he couldn’t be more beautiful. Without DS he wouldn’t have those gorgeous almond shaped eyes, those eyes that make him look like he constantly has mischief on his mind. Those eyes that blink at me, full of wonder and awe. I love every inch of him, from his highly boopable button nose, to his stubby fingers to his slightly wonky toes. He has made all my dreams come true and more and I could not be more proud of him. He is most definitely not stupid; there is a vast difference between being stupid and taking a bit longer to learn something. He has determination by the bucket load, nothing will stop him. So he will get there and I will be there every step of the way. I’ll catch him when he falls, I’ll make sure he gets back up again. I’ll do my best to protect him from the bigots and prejudice that is unfortunately prevalent in this world. And I will do whatever it takes to make sure he is happy.
He has taught me compassion and acceptance in a world with so little. He has taught me patience and understanding in such a fast paced world. He has taught me that life is not about where the next party is or who’s out in town tonight. But most of all he has taught me about love, pure and unconditional. He is the love of my life and without him I would quite simply cease to exist.
My Son, My Elijah, My World.