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The hardest year. The best year.

her name is Abby, she likes to party.

Abby turns two today.  For the boys’ birthdays, the feeling was always of celebration of the day they were born. For the two birthdays we’ve had so far with Abby, the feeling is different.

Less about the day she was born, though that is remembered, but more about making it through another year. There were times I feared that Abby wouldn’t make it to two. That fear has been much more present this year than it was in the year prior.  It’s the worst of all fears.

I’m a different person today than I was even a year ago. I’m tougher, I think. I’ve been taken to the very edge of what I thought I could handle. I’m more tired, of that I am sure.  But I’m also more grateful. More willing to speak up about things that I feel strongly about. Less offended when people say things that are contrary to how I feel or even just downright mean. My post about abortion and Down syndrome continues to get hits, and I continue to get letters and comments. Most are kind, some are not. The unkind words do nothing to sway me.

It doesn’t matter how hard this year has been or how many unkind things I have heard. No amount of sadness, pain, exhaustion or fear will ever be enough to make me say that Abby’s life is not worth keeping. I’m not here to judge the choices that people make, nor am I here to debate abortion. What I am here to say, as a very tired mother of a child with Down syndrome on her birthday is that I am grateful every single day that I have been given Abby. That if given the choice to do it all over again, I would choose to have her in a heartbeat.

I’m here to say that all of the hard things pale in comparison to all of the good things. That the joy she brings in her smile, her laugh, and the face she makes when she says “dup” and wants me to pick her up fully trumps all of hard things.

Abby and Peyton

Abby’s starting to talk. She’s starting to stand on her own and it won’t be too long until she walks. This sounds much more like a child who’s just turning one, and that’s a little bit tough take sometimes. But every milestone she reaches is fought for, and really, it makes them so much more exciting.

I’ve heard it said time and time again, “Special children for special parents.” Not me. There are some kids who are sent to parents because they are awesome to begin with. My friend Des is one of those. I am not.  My kids were sent to me because I need a constant reminder to be grateful. To be happy. To be tough. It sucks that they have to take the fall for a parent who needs these reminders, but they seem to be pretty happy, so I guess it’s copacetic.

This last year has been the toughest year of my life. I really hope that it will have been the toughest for Abby, too, so that it all can be uphill from here for her. But it’s also been the best. I have felt so loved and so supported. I’ve made friends with fabulous communities of people who love children with Down syndrome, autism and other special needs. I have been given this outlet for my thoughts, and I’m humbled by support that you have given me. I’d say now that about 90% of the people who read my blog I have never met in real life. That’s amazing to me. No one is forcing you to be here, and yet you are. Thank you for that. Your comments and emails mean more to me than you will ever, ever know. I’m so grateful for your support and for your acceptance of me, even if you disagree with some of the things I have said.

This year we’re not throwing a big bash for Abby like we did last year. We just got her healthy, and I’m hoping to keep her that way as long as possible. I’m going upstairs now to hold her while she sleeps, and maybe get some sleep of my own.

Nothing but love,
Lexi

24 thoughts on “The hardest year. The best year.

  1. Happy Birthday Abby!Beautiful post!This moved me to tears.Every little person who has had down syndrome in my life has grown into a warm, loving, unjudgemental awesome human being adult. If only I can aspire to the same. I know Abby will be the same way. Now can I have a piece of birthday cake?

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  2. Happy birthday, Abby!!! And I love the quote, about how children with special needs make *parents* special. I think that's far more accurate than the more commonly seen quote. Thanks for posting that. Hope you get some rest – you deserve it!

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  3. Happy happy beautiful Abby! What a gorgeous head of curls! Today was special for me, too, and I need to tell someone who will totally understand why it was a goosebump moment. My neighbour fosters babies and toddlers and a handsome baby boy who is now sixteen months old was adopted by a couple few months ago. This little guy has some kind of chromosomal difference, I'm not sure what, and some delays. My friend and the childrens' centre have worked with him, and he has a wonderful family now, who love him and continue to work with him. Today my friend heard from the family for the first time, how much they love K., and that he has learned to crawl and to pull himself up! I nearly cried! Goosebump moment for sure. Dear little Abby likely gives you these kinds of moments in your life too. 🙂 Happy happy birthday sweetie, you are a loved little girl. samm

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  4. Happy birthday to that beautiful baby I am so in love with. Lexi, you make me cry and smile and laugh and cry again. Thank you for sharing your sweet kids with me when you are here.

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  5. Love this Lexi. I understand what you are saying. Before having Cal it would have been foreign. She is a doll and I hope she enjoyed her very special birthday 🙂

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  6. Happy birthday to sweet Abby. I loved so many things about this post – mostly that you write everything with raw honesty and it flows so beautifully. I particularly loved the bit about special kids being sent to MAKE parents special. I agree with this too. I was a selfish, self-absorbed, ridiculous, unfocused, clueless person before I had my daughter Carlie and she not only made me whole, she made me all that I didn't think I could be. She made me a better human being. Our special kids are capable of so much – when people say they were "given" to special parents, sometimes I wonder if that takes all of the focus off of the child's role and puts too much of the spotlight on the parent. I hope you had a very happy bday yourself and I hope this year is easier for both you and Abby. You guys are so lucky to have each other 🙂

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  7. Happy Birthday to Abby! I'm glad you have ALL survived the last year. It's been a doozie. Shoot – the last few months have been pretty horrific over there! Stay healthy and come home soon!

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