I have so much to tell you, little girl.
Like the fact that you have made me a better person in less than three months.
Your brother made me a mother.
And I mean no injustice to either of you, but I can honestly say that your birth and these last 10 or so weeks with you have made me a better mother.
My time with the two of you in these past couple of months have brought me patience and the purest of joy and even a bit of spontaneity and courage.
I went from hardly being able to face leaving the house alone with the two of you to looking for more and more things we can do as a trio outside of our home. We have had many a playdate and you’ve already been introduced to your very own birthday buddy, Miss Aubrey. Yesterday, while your brother looked on, you and Aubrey almost seemed to be talking to each other in cute little “coo” and “gah” noises. I can’t imagine the secrets you’ll continue to share for hopefully many years. We’ve had playdates with your brother’s friends and visits to Mommy’s family and friends. You’ve been passed around among easily three dozen people and you’ve probably been (unintentionally, I’m sure) hit over the head with various trucks and other toys five times a day. Yet you rarely fuss about any of it.
As long as you’re fed and comfortable and a pacifier is on standby (I hope you grow out of that habit before you’re 12 years old, by the way), you’re such a chill baby.
I love holding you, feeling the soft skin on your legs and arms, the furry, full hair on your head. Just as much though, I do enjoy sharing you with others, seeing your blue eyes scan the room around you, sometimes toward a ceiling fan and sometimes toward your Momma (thank you). I probably look like I’m staring at the person holding you because I’m nervous or empty without you. Not the case at all, just taking it all in. Taking you all in.
I love so much about you. I’m sure I’m incredibly biased, but I think you are more and more beautiful every day I meet you in your room in the morning. Your eyes are bluer, your hair is thicker, your smile more grand.
I love the personality I’m imagining you having. A quiet strong. The days of high-pitched shrieking seem to have passed (Thank God) and they’re replaced by a peaceful observation from those lovely eyes of you on the world around you. But that doesn’t mean you don’t make a peep. Oh no, you like to make your presence known. But mostly, you’re a happy girl.
You don’t just smile at me. I’ve seen you smile at just about anybody who makes eye contact with you or talks to you. You don’t play favorites. I do love when you smile at your brother, even if you don’t realize that his beloved cow in his right hand is about to make contact with your head. You hear his voice sometimes and just smile, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
Someday you’re going to understand that your brother has an extra chromosome. I hope that makes him even more extra special to you. It may also make things extra hard, not only for him but maybe for you. Kids may tease your brother and may even say mean things to you. Some people (Adults can be just as mean) may not say anything at all but may act funny. I hope you keep up the quiet strength that you’ve shown so far. As impressed as I am by how quickly you’ve learned to hold your head up high or support your body with your arms, I’ll be equally impressed, perhaps more so, if you use those arms to wrap your brother up in your love. I hope Down Syndrome never rules our lives, especially yours and your brother’s. And I hope that you and Zack can make a big difference in this crazy world.
Your brother loves you so much. He may not be able to say it, but I can tell by how happy and giddy he gets around you that you are pretty cool to have around… even if he still throws most of your toys down the cat door. Don’t worry, he throws his favorite toys down the basement steps, too.
Zack has just started walking and I honestly think it’s because of you. He took his first independent steps the day we brought you home from the hospital and just this past week he started walking — everywhere! — by himself. He often brings himself to the floor or swing where you are at and says “Ad-da,” his word for you.
We worked so hard for every milestone with Zachary and things seem to be coming to you so, so quickly. I love that. I love how smart and strong you are, but I have to force myself to be in every moment because I know how lucky a parent is to truly understand and cherish a skill.
So Ad-da, please know that you are loved. And that you’ve made my world, and your Daddy’s world, and yes, your brother’s world, a better one.
You will never remember the past 10 weeks, but I will cherish them forever. I will remember your weight against me as I carried you on a backpack on my chest. And yes, speaking of chest, I will remember the times nursing you where I thought the strong love I felt at that moment could never be felt again, it was just too intense and too fierce. I will remember you wearing a little pink bonnet your Daddy picked out from a Mennonite store just a week or two before you were born and how that bonnet meant I had you out in the fresh air, talking to you about birds chirping or waves crashing. I will remember the water lapping over your little feet that first time on a park beach. And the crazy toupee-like look your hair got from a crazy shore breeze one night.
I will remember the first time Zack held your hand and the first time he kissed you and the many imaginative dreams my mind had for your future. I will remember the way you felt in my arms that first night in the hospital and how completely over the moon your Daddy looked when he gazed at us. I will remember the closest of friends who have loved you like you were their own and the clothes and presents and kisses you’ve been given. I will remember the first time I heard your “coo” and the first time you rolled over on your own.
But the way you feel in my arms and the beauty of your often-present smile — that is what I will carry with me when I’m at work missing you or that first day next week when I’m driving in my car without you in the backseat.
I look forward to all of the days I am given with you. Each one is a treasure.
So thank you for making me a better mother and a better person. And for giving me the most incredible summer of my life.
I love you, Addie.