Sunday, February 16, 2014

Love Letters

Today is a very special day in my house.  Today the twins, Wyatt and Zoe, turn three. 

Three is such a transition year for us.  They are not babies any more (although I still slip and occasionally call them that), nor are they toddlers any longer.  Now we're entering the world of preschooler, which is both wonderful and terrifying at the same time.  If you'll excuse me now, I'll be in the corner pulling on a bottle of JD and alternating between contemplative silence and hysterical laughter on that one.

As the distance grows between this point and what I am now calling their post-birth freakout, I've come to realize--with the clarity that only time brings--that the source of all the grief wasn't what I thought.  It had nothing to do with Wyatt having Down syndrome.  It did have a little more to do with him having an Atrioventricular Septal Defect and Zoe having an inguinal hernia that required surgery at six weeks of age.  It had a lot to do with the suddenness of their arrival, the major abdominal surgery that brought them into this world, the routine and nature of the NICU and the litany of growth charts, imposed feeding regimens, assessments and appointments.   Plus:  There.  Are.  Two.  Of.  Them.

Never, ever, underestimate how busy parents of newborn twins are.

But, here we are. 

Three. 

Holy fuckballs.

As this day grew closer, [read: last week some time] I decided that I wanted to write my children each a love letter of sorts, something that they could read in the future.  I saved sharing them until today, simply because I didn't want them to get mixed up with the hoopla of Valentine's Day.  These are love letters of another sort.  Ones that go a little beyond cutesy hearts and flowers.

For Zoe:

For my daughter, my mini-me.  You resemble me more than just with the shape of your face and your dark eyes, love... I recognize that heart as it is a piece of my own.  Your strength goes so much deeper than your physical prowress.  You are funny; quick and darling; all rolled up in a ball of glorious noise.  You sing along to Led Zeppelin, Stevie Nicks, Joni Mitchell, The Ramones, Heart, Janis Joplin and anything else I throw your way... and dance without hesitation.  Whether as princess or a pirate, you are as fierce as my love for you.

From your stealthy refusal to be captured on ultrasound initially, to your refusal to even be
born, you have demonstrated time and time again how strong you are.  You were not much bigger than my hand when you were born, in fact your entire hand gripped the first digit of my pinkie finger.  I was terrified the first time I went to hold you, until you started to wail with a volume that beat against my ears.  I had concert ring for the first three months of your life.  There is no doubt in my mind that you will ever have trouble making yourself heard.

May you never squander your gifts on anyone less deserving.  Let no one or no thing ever dim that fire that burns bright within you. 

Always be you.  No one else.

You would think (hope) that the letter for my son would be same, perhaps with a little tweak geared towards him being a boy and her being a girl.  But sadly, this is not the case.  What I want to say to my son, and what I have to say to him are still, in today's world, two separate things.  To Wyatt, I will have to stress to him, more than the other two, to be wary of strangers.  He absolutely has to understand that everyone that claims to mean him well, won't.  That may mean his teachers, his therapists, doctors and nurses and even the police.  Wyatt will have to know that well into his adult years, there will be people that will treat him like a child, that misunderstand his nuances and actions.  There will be people that write him off completely...  That feel that his life is not worth as much as another, that try and deny him his basic humanity.

[I cried while writing that.]


...Or not.

I hope not.  I hope by the time that Wyatt reaches adulthood, that my pausing here will seem old-fashioned, outdated.  That things like acceptance and meaningful inclusion will be just a matter of course.  That competency will be presumed automatically.  He will be seen as just another flavour of humanity and be allowed the according rights and freedoms.  He will be seen as my son, nothing more, nothing less.  Because that is what he is.

I want people to see my son, for him.  As I see him.  As he is. 

For Wyatt:

For my son, my mini-Sean.  You resemble your father more than just with the shape of your face and your complexion.  You have his gentleness and his sense of humour.  Your will is matchless, your determination nothing short of remarkable.  You are funny; quick and adorable; a complete package of noise and dirt.  You sing along to the songs that your older brother and I sing to you... and cheer without hesitation.  Whether concentrating on a new task or asserting your place in this world, you are as fierce as my love for you. 
From your determination to be born and get this lifetime started, to your complete disregard of any sort of medical predictions regarding your health and development, you have demonstrated time and time again how strong you are.  You were not much bigger than my hand when you were born, in fact your hand almost completely gripped the first digit of my pinkie finger.  I was terrified the first time I went to hold you, until you snuggled into my neck and sighed, as if to say "this is what I was looking for".  There is no doubt in my mind that you will ever have trouble expressing yourself.
May you never squander your gifts on anyone less deserving.  Let no one or no thing ever dim that fire that burns bright within you. 

Always be you.  No one else.

Happy Birthday to my littlest peeps.  You and your older brother are the reason I fight so hard.  May you all know that you are loved and cherished for exactly who you are. 

And always will be. 

Love,
Mom.

2 comments :

  1. Happy Birthday. So, so much love.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You made me cry too... This is beautiful!
    Much love to you... and 'Happy Being Three' to your sweet little ones
    ((Hugs))

    ReplyDelete

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