It was sometime in July, I think. July of '09.
6 months ago...
That was the last time I cried hard about Down syndrome.
I remember there were a bunch of us there that night. We were all sitting around the kitchen table eating dinner. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, the "R" word was casually dropped and just as quickly, my heart shattered - not just because of that, but that most certainly must have been a trigger. I put my fork down, forced myself to swallow what was lodged in my throat, and excused myself from the table. I went into the bathroom, braced myself on the sink and looked in the mirror. I told myself to breathe. Please just breathe. In and out. Shh. It's ok, it's ok.
I splashed water on my face and went back to the table. I said nothing, nothing! and pretended that everything really was ok. I pretended until I couldn't anymore and instead went up to bed.
Oh, I can remember just how hard I cried that night. I think it may have been the hardest I had ever cried in the name of Down syndrome. I felt worse that night than I did the day we had heard Dylan's diagnosis confirmed. I cried because I was sad, of course. But I now know that I was also extremely afraid, vulnerable, uncertain, and I was angry.
It was as if I had suddenly known that things were going to be different.
Earlier that day, on the beach, Cassidy had me in hysterics - she had busted my chops about something and we couldn't stop laughing about it. I remember hugging her so tightly, while laughing, and saying, "Oh Cass!! I just love you so much!". That night, I cried because I did not know what kind of relationship Dylan and I would have. What would it be like when he was 3? Surely he wouldn't be able to joke around with me in the way that Cass did? Would he even be speaking by then? Walking? Oh, it hurt to think about...
Also earlier that day, there was a young woman on the beach who had Down syndrome. I couldn't stop looking at her and thinking how surreal it all was that some day, Dylan was going to be a young man with Down syndrome. I couldn't picture it. How was it possible?
I cried that night because truly, I was a terrible advocate, and I knew it. I was horrified with myself - disgusted that I did not say anything in response to the "R" bomb that was so casually dropped in front of Dave and me. Yes, confrontation is very uncomfortable for me, but why couldn't I suck it up for my child? Why didn't I open my mouth and explain how the use of the word "retarded" in regards to making fun of someone, is not funny - how, as a matter of fact, it is offensive to my baby, my sweet baby who was asleep upstairs.
Oh, I cried because it all seemed to fall on me at once - this new reality. I was the mama of a child with Down syndrome. Oh. My. Gosh.
That was the last time I cried like that - the last time I felt like that. I think I've had small twinges every now and then, but nothing of that magnitude. And I am sure that there will come a time again, where I will cry more tears in the name of Down syndrome, but oh how I hope the pain isn't ever that severe. I can't imagine it ever will be, though. Seeing Dylan now...he makes me so happy. He makes my life...better. And I should think that that's more than enough for me...
Really, what more can one want? Besides happiness...and love...