Tonawanda News

Columns

September 27, 2012

Stepping it up after all these years

Tonawanda News — Eight years.

It’s hard to believe. Eight years ago, my husband and I were just moving into our new home in the Town of Tonawanda. Eight years ago, I was nearly eight months pregnant. Eight years ago, we were counting down the days to becoming parents for the very first time.

And we were scared to death.

Oh, not for the usual reasons new parents-to-be are scared. (Although those reasons were there, too.) We had an added element of fear and trepidation and constant background worry. About four months earlier, you see, our son had been diagnosed in-utero with a heart defect. And when he underwent testing to clarify why that defect might possibly be there, we found out something else.

Our son, the baby we hoped for, dreamed of, had given silly nicknames since the day we found out he was on his way ... our son had Down Syndrome.

I won’t tell you we were strong the whole way. I dealt with my share of rage and panic those days, and I will never forget the sheer, overwhelming pressure of the unknown. What would this be like? Facing down new parenthood is scary enough. Facing down new parenthood when you’re just not sure what’s coming ... is petrifying.

Would he walk? Would he talk? Would he love us? Would he show it? Would he like the things so-called “normal” kids like? 

So many questions. So much unknown.

And yet, today, nearly eight years later ... here we are. 

Jim is a healthy, happy kid. (Thanks to successful heart surgery when he was 5 months old.) He loves school. He loves swimming. He loves to bait his little brother, who doesn’t have Down Syndrome but still thinks his older brother hung the moon. (Most of the time, anyway.) Does he talk? He never stops!

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