Four years ago today, our family was joined by a teeny tiny miracle. Just 4 pounds, 2 ounces.
I didn't know that this was an extra special miracle. I thought it was your run-of-the-mill miracle--amazing, but no different than the miracles that all moms and dads bring home from the hospital.
We didn't find out for almost three months. That our baby Roo had, in that tiny little body, an extra chromosome in every single cell.
But here's the crazy part: we thought it was bad news. We didn't really get it. We cried and mourned.
We prayed for a miracle. And it was already right there in front of us.
We watched Roo grow and change, and we began to accept Down syndrome as a part of our lives. We knew we would be OK.
We saw Roo learn new things, and we celebrated. Every milestone--no matter how small--was a joy.
We worked relentlessly with Roo on things--life skills, stuff we thought was important. How to sit up, stand, walk. How to hold objects, feed himself, drink from a cup.
We learned that the harder you work for something, the sweeter the victory.
And then there were the things that Roo didn't need to work for, things that came naturally to him.
We realized that Roo had the uncanny ability to light up a room when he entered. The absolute joy that he emits (along with a hearty dose of orneriness) draws people in.
We saw him go out of his way to bring a smile to someone's face when they were upset.
We observed him tackle each new challenge willingly, but without desperation or fear. He wasn't upset or worried when he couldn't do something. He just kept trying.
We began to understand that we could relax. We stopped worrying so much about the outcome and began to embrace the journey.
And somewhere along the way, we realized that we had changed, too.
We no longer simply accepted Down syndrome. We became thankful for it.
Because no matter how much we teach Roo, he teaches us more.
When you reach the proper age
I will teach you to read and you can turn the pages
How to dress and tie your shoes
Your one plus ones, and your two times two's
And you'll teach me
Of hearts and dreams
And all the most important things
And all that I have lost along the way
And I can't wait
--Sara Groves, "I Can't Wait"
Happy 4th birthday, my dear sweet baby Roo.