My life changed in February 2008, when Meg was almost 2.
Her Easter Seals PT, Stephanie, told me to go crawl around our house to see life from her perspective.
As I drove home I wondered, "What's life like from Meg's perspective?"
I thought about the day she was born. Many people cried that day, myself included, but I never questioned Meg's tears. I wondered, “What was Meg crying about?”
I know babies cry, but I kept wondering about her tears specifically.
I thought maybe that day she also learned of her Down syndrome diagnosis. That news surprised us, maybe it surprised her too. Maybe she had to recreate her own dreams. Maybe she was afraid. Lots of us were. Maybe she was scared too.
Then I had a thought that changed my life. While I was pregnant, I imagined a "perfect" child. I had hopes and expectations for who she was going to be. When she arrived and we heard the diagnosis my initial reaction was sadness. I had thoughts of "This wasn’t supposed to happen!" "I can’t do this." "I don’t want to do this."
Maybe in those first few minutes of meeting me, she had similar thoughts. Maybe during those months I carried her, she dreamt of her "perfect" mother and had expectations of me. When she arrived and realized I'm not beautiful, brilliant, rich, or perfect she was sad. Maybe she cried disappointing thoughts of "This lady wasn’t supposed to happen to me!" "I can’t do this!" "I don't want this mom."
The thought that I was the disappointment tore me to pieces. Understanding that I might be the promises unfulfilled, the dreams not realized, I began to beg for a chance.
"Please Meg, I know I'm not perfect, but give me a chance." "No one will ever love you the way I can!" "Don't give up on me Meg, I'll spend every day of my life working to make you proud." These were some thoughts I had as I begged forgiveness for the fact that I'm not perfect and asked for acceptance.
Meg's Down syndrome is a blessing. She gave us courage to adopt Alina. She helps me be a better mother to all four of my kids. She inspired me to change careers and advocate for people of all abilities. She has given me a voice to speak against ignorance and hate. She has helped me to love myself. I'm not perfect, but I no longer feel as though I have to be as long as I'm trying my best. She helped me see that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and abilities. She has given me patience, laughter and love. My life is so much different than I imagined yet so much better than I ever dreamed. She has taught me that life isn't about having kids that make me proud. Rather it is about being the type of mom, wife and person my family can be proud of.