Today I sat with Rowenna resting on my legs, her blue eyes intently searching my face. She cooed and gurgled for about half an hour and smiled at the faces I made back at her.
And it struck me all the while that right now I feel like I live two lives. There’s the life in which I marvel at all my daughter does and my heart soars with every coo and smile. I love that life. I love the surge of joy in my heart when I scoop her up and her little orange eyebrows pop up in surprise and she gives me a big gummy grin.
But there’s also this life where I am profoundly sad to be so excited about these little things because had my daughter been “typical” I would have cherished them but possibly not on this level. Despite the well wishes and enthusiasm of all who surround me, I am more than aware of the limitations my daughter may have. Yes, I can expect her to read. Yes, I can expect her to move out one day. Yes, I can expect her to have a job. But those big dreams I had for her while she grew inside me, the dreams that had her joining the Peace Corp, earning a PhD, having her own children someday…those dreams are now packed away and in their place are bursts of joy that she can hold her head up, that she can smile, that she tries to communicate.
I recognize this feeling of duality for what it is. I know I am still working through the complex emotions that come with a Down syndrome diagnosis. It’s just that some days it hits me harder than others.
But in the end I just love this little peanut through and through, and I can already see that she has so much to teach me.