Today, Charlotte is 6 months old. Where did the last 6 months go? I feel like it has been a blur of emotions. In the past 6 months I have gone from an emotional high (the birth of my child) to an emotional low (Down syndrome diagnosis, heart defect diagnosis), back to an emotional high (successful surgery), to finally some emotional stability. Throw in a million doctor's appointments and hours of worry and stress and those 6 months in some ways felt like 6 minutes.
How am I? Well, it depends on the day, and most times it depends on the minute. Most days, in the words of my son, I am great. I am a pretty optimistic person and have really focused on the positive the past 6 months. However, I would be lying if I said I felt great all the time. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't replay the conversation with the pediatrician the day after Charlotte was born...I can repeat it word for word. I think about life before that conversation, and then I think about life after. I still have moments of "its not fair" and "why her?" I still get angry, though less and less each day. I have accepted Charlotte's Down syndrome diagnosis, but that doesn't mean I like it. I have read many stories written by parents of children with Down syndrome and most say they would not take the Down syndrome away if they had the opportunity. I am not there yet; to me, Down syndrome is still the reason my child had to go through open heart surgery. Down syndrome is the reason that my daughter will have to face all sorts of adversity in her life. Maybe someday I will be one of those parents who embraces Down syndrome, but not yet.
There are days I cry; usually not due to anger, but rather worry. I worry about the future a lot. I know someday Katherine and Will are going to find out that their sister is different, and unfortunately not everyone may think she is as perfect as they do. How do I even begin to explain the ignorance of others to my children? I worry about Charlotte's health, because unfortunately that extra 21st chromosome can express itself in many different ways; hearing loss, delay in gross motor skills (due to low muscle tone), eye issues, thyroid issues....the list goes on and on. I try not to dwell on statistics (1 in 10 chance of leukemia...pretty freaky), but it still is worrisome. I worry about Charlotte's future, her education, what her cognitive level is going to be, future heart issues. I worry about things I can't change, and I know this, yet I still worry.
Don't get me wrong, there have been many, many happy moments in the past six months. I still find myself tearing at times when Charlotte smiles. I love watching the interaction between Charlotte and her siblings; it is very, very sweet. The first thing Katherine does every morning is find Charlotte, and the last thing she does each night is hug and kiss her goodnight. I am waiting for the novelty to wear off, but then I wonder if this is just the beginning of a very special sister bond. The way Will grabs Charlotte's thumb and tries to make her smile is positively adorable. The excitement when Charlotte reaches each milestone is immense and shared by many. I find myself already changing for the better because of her; I am more accepting, less judgmental of others. I find myself having more patience and an appreciation of the "little things."
I am so very grateful for all I have. I am also completely, head over heels in love with my little girl. I can't imagine life without her, and look forward to each day with her. I really do feel like she is here to teach all who know and love her something; and I look forward to finding out what that something is. And while it has been a very intense 6 months, the joy I feel as I write this is knocking down the worry and anger. How can you not feel joy when you look into these eyes?
Happy 1/2 birthday Cookie! You are loved by so many.