This month I've made the commitment to blog daily in the "31 for 21" challenge. Not all of my posts have been about Down syndrome, because I see it as just one aspect of a life that's full of many things. But in looking through some older family photos, I've found too many sweet ones not to share. Here's the picture of the boys at the hospital the day Tertia was born. I've always been in awe at how thoroughly and snugly the nurses can swaddle a newborn. We were kind of at loose ends that day, but the boys were excited to be big brothers (they each got buttons to wear!) and probably didn't understand why Mom and Dad were so frazzled. Little Tertia was adorable despite a certain "squashedness" of her head that made her look a bit like General Burkhalter from Hogan's Heroes. She and I had a very close bond starting that day, when I felt a little like it might be the two of us against the world.
I had already sewed a baby sling to wear her in. We went everywhere and she hung out like a little kangaroo baby. Here she is at the Portland Rose Garden... the one with real roses, not the sporting arena. Emotionally what was the hardest for me was knowing that my beautiful baby girl was less than perfect in the world's eyes, and having her close to me was one small way of protecting her when I wasn't sure about how people would react to her. Having this kind of close physical contact with her was good for her security and development, and good for creating a special mother-child bond. None of my other children would hold still long enough... but I basically carried her for 9 months inside and 2 years outside. Many of those days were hard ones; I was worried about things I'm not worried about any longer. But if I had my little baby joy-bird close by, it was hard to be depressed for long.
So maybe you can understand why I found it funny, quirky, and profoundly sweet that she bought me fabric softener as a Christmas present last winter. Now she's a big girl in middle school and could pick out her own presents and pay for them at the Dollar Tree. She chose the soft blue bottle with a mommy and baby on it, and if you can't read the fine print at the very bottom, it says, "Soft as a Mother's love."
Mothers aren't supposed to have favorites, but this comes close to being my favorite Christmas present ever!