“True life is lived when tiny changes occur.” – Tolstoy

New baby, new big brother, new parents, and a coming New Year, so maybe the changes aren’t so tiny.

I do love change. I love Christmas because it means a coming New Year. I love new challenges and new places. One of the reasons Nate and I don’t have a house and live in our apartment is that our apartment is impermanent. Sure, we’ve lived in the same building for 11 years, but there is something comforting to me about being able to “move at any moment.” Granted we’ve had the opportunity to move and passed numerous times, but I still could without really much of a hassle.

We are hoping to buy a house this year – just plain running out of space with two kids and 11 years worth of “stuff.” Memories…I guess you call them. Or junk.

We’ll need to find some kind of compromise place in Milwaukee, because I’m not ready to move off the East Side. I’m not ready to leave my lake view. I’m not ready to leave our parks, our lakefront, our museums, and our coffee shops. I’m not ready to leave the city. I grew up in the country. I grew up in the woods. You’d think I would have loved it, but I love this much more.

I love that Fynn gets on the elevator and yells, “All aboard!” I’m not sure how much our neighbors love it, but they haven’t complained. I love that Fynn and Mia are within 5 minutes from 2 children’s museums, an art museum, and the public museum. I love that they are within 5 minutes from Central Library and its architecture and awesome children’s room. I love that we are within walking distance from Lake Michigan – or that we can see it every single day from our giant east-facing windows – well, unless we’re fogged in, but then we can hear the fog horns.

I know we don’t have a lot of space, but Fynn and Mia aren’t ready for space. As I type this, Fynn is playing next to me on our ottoman, and Mia is playing in her gym inches from me. We just like to be together right now. I love being able to reach over and give them a squeeze. Our playroom is our living room and I love it (everything except the clutter, but kids are messy).

The other day I was feeling guilty about urban living, about having children in a city. Then we walked into the apartment and Fynn said, “This is my house. I love my house.” I guess we bloom where we’re planted. I’m sure he’ll love the next place too, but I hope he always remembers living here. I hope he always remembers being a city kid.

I hope he always remembers our circa-1935 elevators that everyone is afraid to ride, except him.

A simple, kind thing

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” Mother Teresa

It sounds like a little thing. Not many people would understand why this little thing was such a big thing to me.

I have a lot of faith that things will be okay, that Mia will be okay, that our family will be okay, that I will be okay. But I’m fearful. Who wouldn’t be? I’m fearful of the future. Of the next year, the next five, the next 20. I love my friends, I do. You are all awesome, amazing people. But like anything in our lives, you don’t “really know” until you’ve lived it. You’ve all been amazing. You’ve all said all the right words and done all the right things, but fear is a pervasive thing.

All the experts – our pediatrician, the therapists, the nurses – have said the same thing. “You should talk to someone who has a child with Down syndrome.” In fact my pediatrician AND my son’s therapist have already called parents they know and said I could call them, but I’m a coward. What would I say? “Hi, I have a kid with Down syndrome and so do you, we should talk.” I don’t know how to say that because I’m an introverted chicken.

The fact is that I know a mom who has a child with Down syndrome. I’ve talked to her about her son. I’ve met her son. I have her cell phone number in my phone, and I was too afraid to call her. I wasn’t sure what to say.

So when she called me, I cried. When I heard her message on my phone I burst into tears. I really needed to talk to her and didn’t realize how much until I called her back and couldn’t stop talking and listening and hearing her understand me. It was such a little thing. Just a phone call.

Thank you, friend, for picking up the phone when I couldn’t.

It was a simple, kind thing, but it meant a lot to me.