I was thinking the other day that I’ve been writing in this blog for about ten years. A lot has happened since my first silly post in 2009. A lot. And maybe if anyone new were reading this, I thought I’d give a quick update.
Over 10 years ago, I had my first child. His name is Fynn and he’s awesome. He’s smart and creative. He’s an awesome storyteller. He’s just an awesome kid all around.
After Fynn was born, I worked part time for a while, but then I decided to be a stay-at-home mom. I did continue to write on the side.
And then Mia was born. A soft-marker for Down syndrome showed up in our 20-week ultrasound, but I was just a few months shy of the release of the non-invasive chromosome tests (and I was not going to terminate the pregnancy), so I “waited it out.”
On November 5, 2012, Mia was born and she did indeed have Down syndrome.
And I thought my entire life was going to come to an end. Seriously. I wish I could say that I had a positive attitude and I was convinced everything was going to be awesome. But I really didn’t. And none of the doctors helped assuage those fears. “She might not walk until she’s 5 or 6,” said one doctor. “She might not know you’re her mom,” said another.
Then over the course of the first year (when she rolled over at five weeks old), I realized that the doctors were completely full of shit (excuse my language). They were dealing with outdated statistics and worst-case scenarios.
And Mia has truly shocked me over the course of 6 years. There have been delays – cognitive and physical – but nothing like the horror story I was worried about. In fact, to quote one of Mia’s teachers at school, “She’s magical.” And it’s true. She is.
Then, a few years ago, I faced an “out of the blue” divorce. To say I was shocked was an understatement. Devastated was more like it.
I won’t go into the details. The internet is forever and my kids will probably read this someday.
Amy Poehler had a great chapter about divorce when you have little kids in her book. One thing that resonated with me is that you’re stuck with the other person – forever. You can’t just forget they exist. Imagine this scenario played out on a weekly basis:
“I CAN’T BELIEVE I EVER LIKED YOU! Hey, can you bring back Fynn’s swim trunks on Sunday? Swim lessons.” (and repeat)
Also, I hate the statement, “Why can’t divorced people be adults?” Divorced people are adults. Very hurt, angry, frustrated, and tired adults who are doing their best.
And that’s what I’ve done for the past four years. I’ve done my best as a single mom.
I went back to work in the arts. And I’ve enjoyed being back to work more than I thought I would. I really wanted to be a stay-at-home mom for a while longer, but that wasn’t in the cards. Thankfully I work for a flexible environment where I can have some work-life balance.
Because while Mia is amazing, she still has a disability. And that does add complications to the mix – particularly with child care. Though I’ve had some amazing experiences over the past four years.
And I have to give a shout out to Fynn, who has been an amazing big brother. Not only is he incredibly loving and protective of his baby sister, he’s also her hero and her favorite playmate.
And that is my last 10 years in a nutshell. Just some happy chaos. Welcome.
And I’d like to answer a question here that I get asked a lot. Yes, you may send any moms experiencing a Down syndrome diagnosis my way. When I was pregnant with Mia, the only thing that kept me from sinking into the depths was looking at the blogs of moms of kiddos with Down syndrome. Just seeing real life. I distinctly remember the switch in my head flipping. One of the moms posted a blog with photos of her daughter helping her dad wash a car. For many weeks, I had felt like I was crawling through the dark with no end in sight, and then I saw that photo and it was like seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. It had finally occurred to me that life *might* be okay. I was still terrified. But that *might* helped me through the next couple months of my pregnancy.
And then “might be okay” turned into definitely okay. Definitely great. Definitely amazing. Definitely magic.