Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I lied.

I'm not reading Gifts or Roadmap to Holland. I've skimmed one and started the other, and they're in a stack on my nightstand along with Babies with Down Syndrome and Expecting Adam and Your Baby's First Year Week by Week. But I'm not reading any of those, either.

I'm reading David Sedaris.

I've even read this one before, and I had also read the 1,000-page novel about a Victorian-era prostitute that I just finished before, but when I'm in my snuggly bed before sleep overwhelms me, with Mirabel softly snoring and gently sighing in her bassinet, I want the words I'm reading to lift me away, to make me laugh... to let me escape.

Wait, is that right? Is that what I'm trying to do -- escape? Nah. Well, maybe. But I'm not saying Oh my life is so horrible, just let me escape! Heavens, no! I actually think my life is uniquely wonderful right now, full of opportunities and hope and baby's breath. Mmm, my baby has baby's breath and it is so yummy. She's a baby. I am relishing her baby-ness and smelling her baby skin and taking huge bites out of her fat baby thighs.

The other books are there, in a stack, waiting patiently, saying, "We're here if you need us. Mirabel has been welcomed in to a world where you will read and receive all the support and encouragement she needs. Crack us open if you need a dose of hope and reassurance. We're here. We'll wait."

Thank you, books.

And while we're on the subject of honesty, let me throw out some props to my strong, stoic, supportive husband and baby-daddy, John. John loves to talk things out. I'm serious! He's all, Let's get to the root of this, let's talk it out. He listens, and he apologizes (if he needs to). Lord help me, sometimes I think this man is too good. So when Mirabel came around I looked to him for the raw honesty I would need. And I saw him struggle on that first day, and I saw him come as close to tears as I ever have in 8 years. "I just want to be a good father for her," he said. And then he spoke some of the most beautifully honest words ever:

"I think Mirabel is here to teach us to slow down."

True that. Not that we have been able to slow down as much as we'd like, but Mirabel doesn't seem to mind. She's patient, too. {Case in point: We were all in the car the other day and I turned to Luciya to ask how Mirabel was in the back seat. Luciya's reply? "She's just chillin'."}

But Honest John did come to me, worry in his brow, and thoughts in his brain. Because whether we immerse ourselves in the literature or not, Mirabel's diagnosis is perched in every nook and cranny of our lives. And Honest John apologized before he spoke, but he did share The Thought: "You never want your children to die before you do... but part of me hopes that Mirabel does live a long life but does go before us, so that we don't have to worry about her."

And there you have it: shocking, simple, heartbreaking, and ultimately difficult to even express out loud. And we went and marveled at our baby in all her baby glory, and decided to slow down and enjoy every minute we do have.

And then I showered Mirabel with all the blessings I could muster, and I fluffed my pillows and settled in and read some silly stories about the silly South Carolina childhoods of David and his siblings, and I went to sleep.


Ashley said...

Wow. Thank you.

Elaine said...

Sedaris' raw humor is the perfect prescription. The other books can wait.

Ophelia and Peter said...

Lovely post Shemmy.

P.S. We saw David Sedaris in SF...twice. Great fun.

Brian and Dawn said...

I could just read your blog all day! I love how raw your posts are...thank you!!

Kacey Bode said...

Hi! Just saw Mirabel's birth announcement on DSmama's blog.. Congratulations and she is BEAUTIFUL!!! I especially love the picture of the two girls with the Big and Little sister shirts on, so cute!

It took me a long time to read those books. It was all too overwhelming. The gift's book is really nice, but I wasn't all happy that I had a child with Down syndrome, YET. The book I read that I could most relate to (although it was 2 years after my Ella was born) was The Year My Son and I Were Born, the author had a hard time with her child's diagnosis as did I!!

Anyhow, welcome to the community (I was cracking up reading your post about your encounters at the supermarket, that was SO me too!!)

bb,tonya and cam... said...

congrats on your little girly! isn't she so fun! we are loving this journey as well....and i don't read those books either :) it's all about the one day at a time thing and we are lovin' it! so much life in those almond eyes....congrats!

motherofangels said...

Congrats on you sweet baby girl! We also had a little DS girl in Jan. I hope you don't mind if I read your blog :)

Cathy said...

I too found your blog through DSMama's announcement. Mirabel is so beautiful. And let me just say...I've read those books and while they are helpful, the most important thing is loving on you sweet, sweet girl.

Stop by my blog sometime so I can introduce you to our almost 23 month old...Lily...the love of my life!

MsBorges said...

Oh, tears. Happy love tears in Anchorage.

The Hapa Girl said...

Those books will always be there. What a beautiful family!