It’s hard to believe that our own Tower of Babble turned a year old today.
Elisabeth went to the Fair a few days ago with her friend, Erin and Erin’s family. It was exactly a year ago, as Laura and I shook the girls in the middle of the night to tell them that we were leaving to go to the hospital, that Elisabeth quietly acknowledged the coming birth of her brother, and then sleepily asked, “And can I have $20 to go to the State Fair with Erin and her family?”
A couple of snapshots from a year ago…
-We went to the hospital on Sunday morning Aug 28, 2011 for what turned out to be a false alarm, and went back home after a few hours. We rationalized ‘This was good – now we know where to park and where to go in the hospital’, but Laura was really, really ready to have that baby. So when we went in the morning of the 29th and were again told that it was a false alarm, the wheels were already in motion. The nurses politely suggested that we get some sleep and then decide whether to stick around the hospital or go home, but Laura was gently firm that she was not leaving that hospital bed. I consider myself a voice of reason in our family, but this was not a case when Mama Bear was looking for suggestions. They broke Laura’s water and Timothy was born 8 hours later.
-I felt a little bad that Catherine missed the birth when Laura’s labor slowed down, and I suggested that she had plenty of time to run an errand. But of course, shortly after she left, labor sped up and TRBL was ready for his close up.
-One looming thought was ‘Does he definitely have Down syndrome?’ I mean, we had had the tests, and those tests are very accurate, and we had come to terms with the Down syndrome diagnosis, but there was always that small shadow of a doubt, or probably hope (‘these tests are wrong sometimes, you know’), and so within a minute after T had been born, and the nurses had gotten him to scream his first breath, they held him up and I took a picture with my cell phone. And I looked at the photo, and saw the shape of his eyes, which matched the very distinct shape of the eyes of many children with Down syndrome. I wouldn’t call my reaction ‘surprise’, because I expected Down syndrome, but it was more like a sad little ‘dang’ –- a confirmation. We were mostly ready, but we couldn’t help but hope to be pleasantly surprised. But that didn’t happen.
We have appreciated so much all of the support from so many people during this exciting journey. It has made the few challenges easier to deal with and the many, many highs more fun to celebrate. And people have said such kind words about our family. But before we’re bronzed for Family of the Year, it’s only fair to mention that pretty much every time I’ve handed out medals in the blog for what a good family we are (One Team, One Dream, for example), it has been followed by an outsized family argument over something silly or an embarrassing public incident. Karma (or maybe hubris) is a bear.
Tonight, we had a quiet family celebration of Timothy’s first birthday. After a 15 minute lockdown, we finally located the ‘Number One’ candle and put it in the little birthday dessert tart. With T sitting patiently on his throne, Elisabeth pushed the tart toward him, Laura and I each filming and Catherine leading the group in singing, but no one thinking to act as a ‘spotter’ as the birthday chap (unbuckled, as it turned out) stretched forward toward the flaming dessert and nearly did a face plant on the hardwood. But his fall was quickly arrested, and the mood shifted from panic to something closer to the old TV show ‘Fantasy Island’ (‘Smiles everyone! Smiles everyone!’) and the birthday song was quickly resumed, and then Timothy watched as we ate his dessert.
Dessert, singing, and a near miss.
A fitting way to celebrate an exciting year of TRBL.