Saturday, April 21, 2012

Splish, Splash

We guard our sleep fiercely in this house.  I'm not kidding.  Every bedroom has a blackout blind and regardless of the time of day, we have the ability to seal out the light and hope to get a few minutes rest.  Last Sunday night was uncharacteristically warm which gave us a chance to sleep with the window open (a real treat this early in the spring).  Not surprisingly, Monday morning greeted us early with the rising sun. We awoke to the birds and the gentle hum of morning traffic. 

Perhaps it was the soft breeze or the smell of Saturday's rain still in the air, but there was something about this morning that suggested more than normal mornings.  There was something here.  This morning had potential.  We meandered through our morning routine;  coffee, eldest ready for school, bus stop, computer.  The twins continued to slumber and with that, I found myself having time for a rare "late" morning shower before they awoke.  I was in our bedroom gathering the things I needed when I glanced at the window.  Whatever it was, was still there.  Maybe it was the way the light hit the curtain, who knows?  "There is magic in this morning", I thought to myself as I looked for clean clothes.   I soon found myself having to mentally push myself to keep going;  "I have to shower", I thought.  "They will be awake soon and I have so much to do today".  The breeze waved the curtain a little more and I found myself drawn to my comfy leather chair.  As I sat down, the chair made delightful leathery crunches and I listened to the murmur of the passing cars and birdsong.  The breeze smelled of warming grass and spring flowers as it ruffled my hair.  A wind chime tinkled away in the distance.  I was content in my quiet contemplation.  It was only the stirring coos on the baby monitor that pushed me from my serenity.  Regretfully I got up and headed to the shower.

Once I returned, the magic had passed.  The light on the curtain had changed and the traffic sounds had more urgency.  The babies were now fully awake and their back and forth babble was starting to get an edge to it.  Those few moments however, stayed with me for the rest of my day, like a calm hand on my arm.  That awareness, that stillness... it gave me inspiration.  Bliss even, from a left-open window, a bit of breeze and a splash of spring sunshine.

It may sound silly, but I have to take my inspiration where I can find it.  A trickle of sunlight here.  The scent of grape hyacinths drifting from the vase on the kitchen table.  Whatever works, whatever gives me a little bit of tranquility or comfort.  That is what navigates me through the rough waters.

My children provide a lot of inspiration too.  Don't get me wrong... my house is just like yours.  There are shouts and slammed doors and instructions that have to be repeated to infinity behind gritted teeth. There are also incredibly insightful works of art.  There are fart jokes. There is a ton of laughter and snuggles.   I'm not sure how they do it, but the kids always seem to share exactly what is needed, when it is needed. 

Quinn, our eldest, is quite the little character.  He has turned into an excellent big brother and willingly helps out with the babies.  He is always ready to make one of them laugh or give them kisses. It has been a distinct transition for our wee man;  he went from being the only child to a big brother of both a sister and a special needs brother overnight.  For the most part, he has adapted well.  There have been moments however, where he has acted out or expressed some difficulty or frustration with his situation.  It's all to be expected.  In one of our many recent purges, Sean stumbled on a 'temporarily misfiled' gift card for Toys R Us (that had been given to him before he left his job).  It was a pretty timely find:  although he has a birthday coming up, we wanted to do something as 'an aside', to give him a little treat for being such a good helper.  Armed with our card, we headed out to every kid's favorite store.

In the hour and a half we were there, we looked at all the toys that a 5-6 year old boy would probably sell his own parents for.  He looked at the Lego, the cars, the bikes, the scooters... you name it, he looked at it all.  We had a $50 limit as well, so he could have gotten just about anything that he wanted. 

He didn't want any of it.

Sure, this one or that one rated a cursory glance, we even got a "cool" out of him once or twice.  Otherwise, nada. 

He had 50 bucks to spend and all he wanted for his "house" (kitchen set) was a $13 pretend pizza making set. No stuffed animals, no trucks, no new art supplies.  A Pizza making kit with pretend mushrooms so that he could make his favorite pie.  That's it.  We grabbed a giant OBall for the babies, a Frisbee and headed home where he spent a glorious two hours making slices for us.

That's really typical of him, actually.  The Christmas that I was pregnant,  uber-sick and anemic, he asked Santa Claus for "a big piece of beef so that Mommy will feel better".  Last year when we asked him to make out a Christmas wish list, he did so... and listed all the things that he wanted to get other people.  My eldest is his own person.  He is a kind, caring, loving soul who habitually thinks of others before himself.  He is wildly creative and can spend a blissful afternoon drawing and making 'crafts'.   It may be temporary as full time school is looming on the horizon.  However, for now, he is completely content with who he is and completely full of awesome.  He inspires me daily with an outpouring of creativity and compassion. 

Now Zoe... ahh Zoe.  My little warrior princess.  She is a force of nature.  Her determination is outmatched only by her energy.  She is a toddling tsunami in Robeez. It is amazing.  Her vitality, her sense of humor.  What baby has a sense of humor?  Zoe does.  At 14 months she mugs and pulls faces to get a laugh out of you.  I hope this persists as a great sense of humour will see her well through this life.  She is loving and adorable and totally free.  Her spirit quenches me after even the most marathon of 12 hour shifts.  She is simply fabulous.

Wyatt is my little bum-bum.  His smile.  His eyes.  His laugh, so infectious, will wash away any blues.  His sheer determination is often my motivation. Wyatt doesn't quite commando crawl yet, but he 'reaches'.  He can pull himself forward on one elbow and extend his other arm as he desperately tries to touch a desired object or toy.  He repositions himself and then extends himself again, his mouth open and his hand as wide as possible to maximize the surface area when he finally makes contact.  I have seen him pull himself slowly across the floor to reach a desired toy.  It is phenomenal.  His body and muscles do not work or respond the same way as other children.  Not only does he have to work really hard (to overcome any fatigue from his heart and the hypotonia) but also it takes him longer as the nerve impulses do not flow at the same speed.  Despite all that, he gets there, time and time again. No matter what obstacles are in the way, eventually he adapts and overcomes.

He has taught me many things, including the depths of the human heart.  He inspires me to write, to learn, to be a better person.  This blog?  The energy streams from him.  Whenever I think "I'm too busy to write this week" or "someone else will post this", I look at him and remember why I am doing all of this.  I remember too, the sad, lonely, frustrated Mom that couldn't find resources, who felt that she had nowhere to turn as she didn't fit into the right clique.  I don't want anyone else to feel that way.  I don't want another baby with Down Syndrome robbed of any quality time with their Mommy or Daddy because they are swept away with grief.  I cannot change what is past, but I can help others shorten that process.  I can help others feel included, no matter what their education, nationality, ethnic background, age, sex or religion.  Wyatt inspires and fills me with courage.  Wyatt is my muse.

My whys and hows are pretty obvious to me. I don't have an inner serenity pool to tap into, so I find my moments where I can.  My friends (both IRL and virtual) are a constant source of encouragement.  All the grief counseling/therapy/self-help nonsense in the world cannot do what one comment from one of my readers does.  That's why I post the best ones on "The Wall"... to share the positivity with others. I cannot overlook the rivers of support I have from both my friends and fans.

I am very thankful to have so many positive influences in my life.  The world is a very negative place, especially towards people with an obvious learning disability such as my son.  It grates on you some days and can wear you down if you are not careful.  You have to take your inspiration where you can find it, whether it be a baby's smile, a carefully drawn and lettered picture or a bit of sunlight out a window.  It's out there;  you just have to tap into it. 

There is a quote from Vivian Greene that, if I was craftier, I would probably put on a sampler or something:  "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain."  It's these little moments of inspiration that guide my feet, it's my little family that lifts my arms to the sky.

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  1. Thanks for hosting a blog hop! I was directed over here from facebook :) we are adopting a little guy with down syndrome. He is 5! We are very excited!

    1. Congratulations! I hope everything goes well!


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