Friday, November 02, 2007

Remember when....

this week, the song that you hear when you open my blog is "Remember When" by Alan Jackson. My favorite part goes something like this "remember when, the sound of little feet, was the music,we danced to week to week, brought back love, we found trust, swore we'de never give it up...remember when.." I love those lyrics, they are sweet and tender and so real for me.

Last night for some reason, Ciarra had a hard time sleeping. She ended up in our room, negotiating with Daddy for a spot in the middle, where she slept beneath the down comforter for several hours between us. The dog woke me up, needing to go out, and when I came back into the room, I had a rush of emotion watching her laying there. She looked so small, and so delicate, there next to her Dad. Arms thrown up over her head, hair all around her.

She looked little then, but once I decided I would carry her back to her own room to reclaim my space, I realized just how much she has grown. A sleeping child of any variety is floppy. A sleeping child with Down syndrome is like carrying a huge water balloon balanced on your forehead with the "no hands" rule firmly in place. Heavy is an understatement, she is a good 55 pounds now. But she felt warm and snuggly against me, once I got her up off the bed.

As I walked towards her room, I realized...this may very well be the last time I hold one of my sleeping children in my arms...ever. My babies are 18, 12, and 9. It is only having DS that makes Ciarra small enough to carry at 9. She had found an old home movie of her big sister (the 18 yr old) earlier in the night, and we had all watched and giggled at how similar they looked, how devilish Kristin was, and how much she laughed back then. Having been reminded of how fast they grow, I didnt want to miss out on enjoying this last child's littleness. And so I detoured to the living room, where I sat holding her and rocking her, watching her sleep. She would never let me do that if she were awake. She is clear on this, "I am not a baby."

I will be forty years old in 9 days. That seems really old to me, and yet, I am not in mourning, and I am not afraid to say out loud: 40. I am noticing new wrinkles on my face, and I am not as spry in moving as I used to be. I am beginning to have that feeling, when talking to younger moms, "They may think the world is so different now, they may not think what I have experienced matters." The world is different, to be sure. But it isn't different in all the ways that matter. On the video I saw of Kristin, my mom was 43 years old, playing with her first grandchild. My mother is almost 60 now. She has battled cancer several times, and is not the physically strong woman she was then. But the love never changes. That grandchild is no longer a little girl, but her eyes still shine bright bright blue and glint in the sun. She is still a bit devilish. I don't recall knowing with her or even with Jesse, who is 12, that the last time I held them in my arms asleep might be the last time. I don't remember when the last time I laid them down, tucked them in, and kissed their soft cheeks.

I don't think I really knew then how fast babies grow. I celebrated their growing, cheered their steps. But I didn't really make a habit of being aware of every step. With Ciarra, I am aware of it. I know I may not ever again rock one of my own babies in the darkness. I know that last night I said a sort of goodbye to my baby days. I will never have another baby again. My babies will always be just that, my babies. But the physical intimacy of them is slipping away with time. If Ciarra didn't have Down syndrome, hadn't taught me to enjoy every moment, treasure every step, would I have taken the time to really know it and savor it? I doubt it.

1 comment:

ParenteauFamily said...

Oh Michelle,
How wonderfully sweet and beautifully written:)