Another year older, another year wiser. I’ve been trying to draft in my head how I’d sum up my 2012 but there’s really only one word and one person who truly defined my year.
This little kid and his extra chromosome rocked my world and undeniably shook me to the core. There is still so much to learn about our new normal and it’s not just about Noah’s condition but about myself too. A big lesson I am still learning is enjoying the now and the present. For a constant worrier like me, this is not an easy task. I look at Noah and sometimes all I see is a never ending loop of doctor visits and therapy sessions. I see Noah and think about his future, his milestones, the long steep hill that we have to climb together. It’s a conscious effort to snap out of this funk because it creates blinders which prevents me from seeing the true gifts that Noah brings…
And I know there will be more.
I sometimes marvel at how cool Dan can be while I just worry about everything. You know what I did though, I limited my googling. Googling about Down syndrome can lead to great resources and awesome blogs about special needs but that constant clicking and searching has also led me to websites that just painted a grim picture of the future. I decided that I didn’t need the latter as it only fed my anxiety and it prevented me from painting my own happy picture of my family.
There are three books that I read during my maternity leave that provided me with a new perspective about raising a child with special needs. I read Kelle Hampton’s Bloom, Malu Tiongson-Ortiz’s Embracing God’s Purpose for My Special Child and Jennifer Graf Groneberg’s Roadmap to Holland. All three are wonderfully written but I identified most with Roadmap to Holland. The author was candid, honest and provided a clear picture of how she coped with raising a child (a twin) who has DS. More than chronicling how she processed her feelings and emotions, Jennifer also talked of what she did to prepare for doctors’ visits, her daily interactions with people who did not know how to deal with her family and her child, to the therapies that she took her child to. It was surreal reading her words which seemed my own at times. The book underscored the universality of how parents of kids with special needs go through the same range of emotions and expectations. What I loved about the three books is how other parents moved on from the initial shock and how they forged on with the strength and determination that their family needed from them. I needed the inspiration but most importantly I needed to read that their kids are thriving and are OK.
2012 saw Dan and I becoming new parents again and David becoming a kuya. David now introduces himself as “Kuya David” when someone asks his name. Every day is a chance for us to grow into those roles and be better people because of it.
I look forward to 2013 to see what else our Noah can and will do and what our family as a whole can achieve.
What do you look forward to in 2013?
Oh and Happy New Year!