This weekend I stood up in the wedding of a dear friend and sorority sister.
I was terrified to go. One of the other bridesmaids, also a sorority sister, has a son who is just one week older than Rowenna. I didn’t know if I could see him and hear about him and watch him thrive. I was also worried to have my daughter sit side-by-side with her son and have our friends see the differences between them. Not many had heard about her heart surgery or that she has Down syndrome, and I was certain that a feeding tube taped to her cheek and floppy posture would elicit more questions than I had the stamina to answer. I didn’t think I knew how to handle these situations yet.
Instead of all that, I was reminded of something very important. I have sisters. Not by birth, but by choice. I have sisters who love me, and, in turn, who love my daughter.
This weekend was amazing and exactly what I needed in so many ways. Right from the start, people wanted to scoop up my little one and hug her close. They praised her big blue eyes and her smile and the little curl atop her head. (Rowenna bears a striking resemblance to a Kewpie Doll.) They showered her with love and told me over and over how beautiful she is, all the while I was just bursting with joy to see my baby girl adored by the women I hold near to my own heart.
When they asked how she is doing and what our life is all about now, they asked with geniune interest. No one, not one, said “I’m sorry.” No one made it awkward. No one looked at us with that pitying glance I have seen so many times since her birth. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing as one after another my sisters cooed and smiled and reached out to touch her cheek.
Their acceptance of my daughter unlocked something in my heart. I smiled more this weekend than I have in months. I stood beside my friend as she married her beloved, I laughed big, full belly laughs, I danced til my legs ached. I was full of the purest, most unbridled joy and it felt good. My cheeks ache as I write this from all the smiling.
I am blessed to have these beautiful women in my life. I look forward to the day when I can love on their little ones and admire them for who they are. I can only hope that Rowenna has friends like this some day.