Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What I Want You To Know

***This is an open letter to a couple I met for dinner last week who are expecting their first child who happens to be prenatally diagnosed with Down Syndrome and in that moment, my mouth clammed up. I talked about sauvignon blanc and bike riding.  I had so much to say that I had to just wait until it could bubble out.  Right now seems like a good time to let it all come tumbling out.**


I have so much on my heart right now.
So much I want you to know.

First off, I don't even know you but I am proud of you.


When the world was telling you otherwise.
When the world was spitting fear and prejudice and ignorance...
you could drown out the noise and hear that little heartbeat from within whispering 
the goodness, the miracle, the truth that you could trust.

It is all going to be okay.

You got through the first really big hurdle that 90% of the population doesn't make.

You chose life.

You won't regret it.

Because by choosing life...
you really chose love.

And I don't care how cliche it is...
love truly does conquer all.

If you make a choice out of a loving place,
you will always be right.

And if you choose fear,
most of the time,
you will be wrong.

Simple as that.

This precious baby is welcome and wanted and loved.
Right now.
In this moment.
And that is enough.

Having a baby is miraculous.

You get it.

I suspect, you are going to rock this whole experience.

Seeing your bright eyes.
Hearing your hopes and plans.
Watching you together...
just made me want to start climbing that staircase in the Rocky movie and sing that song.

You got this.

So what do I want you to know?

Don't listen to experts.
Don't listen to professionals.
You know best.

Oh wait, clearly, you know that already.

Ok, next...

Listen to your heart.
Follow your gut.
Open yourself up and the universe will guide you.

Oh, wait, you've already done that.

Clearly, you're awesome.

I guess I want to tell you to hold that baby close.
Snuggle and cherish.
I have no doubt you will do this...but do it more.

It just goes too fast.

Your baby is good enough.
You are good enough.
And somehow 
good enough mom and dad + good enough kid = extraordinary family

I don't know the chemistry...but you got it.

Laugh a lot.
Poop, and fatigue, and nursing and babies in general make for crazy funny moments.

My husband brushed his teeth with Desitin in a sleep-deprived fog.
He knew that glossy shine wasn't quite right but he didn't slow down enough to question the fact.
He paid a white-toothed-slime price.
But we still laugh about it many years later.

And that leads me to quite possibly the very best gift this baby is going to give you...
the ability to slow down.

Your baby's pace will be exactly right.
And because he's first, it will be unfolding without any kind of toe-tapping antsy-ness.
One day, that baby will smile...angels will sing, goosebumps will appear and it will be like nothing you've ever experienced.
Each milestone will be savored and treasured.
Every step a victory.

Your baby will allow you to settle down, calm down and just be present...
for his presence.

And that is a gift I wish every person on the planet could know.

Slow is beautiful.

That is my take away.
Slow it all down.
Take a lot of pictures (and videos).
Read a whole bunch of board books.
Shake some rattles.
Stare a lot.

Stare some more.

Because there is no doubt that you are privileged to witness something very special...
and it won't be lost on you.

You are brave, adventurous, loving and accepting.
In exchange for all of those wonderful qualities, you get a son.

Seems pretty fair to me.

You're my kind of people.

I'm honored to know you.

Welcome home.


  1. So much insight. I kept expecting you to say you have experienced the joy of parenting a special needs child. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thank you!! I do have a lot of experience -- my son Patrick is 15 and has Down Syndrome. I was truly hoping this post would have the sole purpose of lifting up this amazing couple and virtually zero focus on me. This couple is not only inspirational but simply lovely...wishing them all the best.

  3. Beautiful! As aunt to this amazing couple, I appreciate your words of encouragement so much! You have an amazing gift and I appreciate your sharing your experiences and wisdom. Jeannine

  4. Thanks Jeannine! They are extraordinary...it was for sure my good luck to cross paths with such beautiful souls.