Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Pivotal Moment ...

I'd like to share with you all a very personal moment that Jack and I shared during the early morning hours today ...

At about 3:00 am, Jack awoke for his typical nighttime feeding. He quickly drank a bottle while we watched some HGTV (those of you who know me well are not surprised to hear this). After his bottle and a diaper change, Jack didn't seem quite ready to back to sleep. So, like we often do, we rocked in his nursery rocking chair while I tried to breastfeed him back to sleep. He latched on like an old pro, and as he suckled, the warmth of our bodies merging together, we just looked deeply at one another.

And for that moment, for the first time, I saw his crooked little fingers as just a "Jack" thing.
I saw his tiny ears that slightly overturn as the cutest ears on earth.
I saw his almond shaped eyes as simply the most beautiful big blue eyes I've ever seen.
And, in his eyes, I did not see his Brushfield spots.
Instead, I saw sparkling stars amidst seas of blue.
Rather than the slightly flattened bridge to his nose, I just saw the same nose that I see when I look at my own baby pictures.
I saw that the little gap between his great toe and second toe looked just like mine after years of wearing flip flops every summer.
And, finally ... I saw his smile. A true and honest smile. Not one caused by gas or triggered during a dream, but a real smile. The kind that lit up his entire face. He was lying there, held snuggly against my bare breast, just smiling at me with his huge beautiful grin.

And in that very moment ... I forgot about my worries and fears for our future.
I forgot about the fact that he may not sit at 6 months or walk at 12.
I forgot that he may take a little longer to learn to feed himself or to tie his shoes.
I forgot that he might not go to a regular school or ever be a sports star.
I forgot that people may make fun of him one day, and I forgot about how this might make him feel.
I forgot that he might not go to college or kiss a girl.
I forgot that he won't become doctor, a lawyer, or a veterinarian.
I forgot that he won't ever experience the joy of becoming a father.

In that very moment ... I forgot about his Down Syndrome.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hit the Road Jack

So, among our many, many blessings, Jack has the privilege of BOTH of his sets of grandparents owning beach property, and we are currently vacationing in the beautiful Outer Banks, NC at the Hicklings' place. We've been looking forward to this trip for many months, and it could not have come at a better time ... time for some much needed R and R!

We arrived in the Outer Banks on Saturday morning, after we had our first Friday "night out on the town" since Jack was born. Two of our dear friends, Amy and Jay Lawrence, celebrated their marriage with a reception at our favorite local watering hole in Greensboro on Friday (7/2), while Grandma and Pops Hickling babysat for the first time. We had so much visiting with friends, but Mommy definitely missed Jack ... and her pre-pregnancy tolerance for alcohol! ;)

So, Saturday morning, Mary, Bill (Robert's parents), Robert, Jack, the dogs and I headed to the Outer Banks. Jack was a wonderful traveler and Mary and I didn't have to stop at all. Thank goodness Jack took to the bottle while riding in his carseat!

The beach weather was perfect the first two days we were here (in the mid 80's) and Jack quickly resorted back to the original beach bum he proved to be when he was merely 2 weeks old. He relaxed with the best of 'em, they with their beers, he with his bottle! He's such a easy baby ... or, as Pops would say, "He's so portable!"

We celebrated the 4th of July in full American fashion with an enormous spread of burgers, brats, dogs, crab legs, shrimp, clams, and multiple salads and dips. Robert's brother Chris and his wife Alice were here, as well as his cousin Nancy and her boyfriend Jake with several of their friends, who were so much fun! So, despite being new parents, Robert and I still tried to "hang" with the best of their party crowd! And, it was also relieving to realize that I hadn't lost my touch for "throwing some bags" (for those of you scratching your heads, I'm referring to a game called Baggo that we play ... kinda like horseshoes with bean bags).

Sadly, Robert had to head back to Greensboro for work on Monday evening, but soon after, our friends Greg and Hiba and their 1 year old little girl Mirah joined me at the beach. It was loads of fun to catch up with them, as the last time we saw them was when we visited them in Seattle when their little one was only 6 weeks old! It was a blast seeing Mirah on the beach for the first time! She took to it like a veteran ... trying to eat sand and splashing in the waves before crashing for afternoon naps on the beach. It's so funny how our lives have all changed since we've had children ... MUCH different than the life we knew together in Chapel Hill just two years ago!

Robert returned to the beach on Thursday night (thank goodness ... Mama was getting tired!). I don't think I've ever missed him so much in my life! I have a brand new respect for single moms after flying solo with baby Jack for 3 nights!

Friday evening, we were joined by two more friends, Corey and Amy Ford, who were married just the day after Jack was born (so clearly we couldn't attend). We just relaxed, ate good food, and played games (they killed us at Trivial Pursuit!). It was wonderful to see them, if only for a short trip ... thanks so much for coming guys!

It was a wonderful week at the beach with family and friends, and it was nice to find out that Jack hasn't forgotten how to be a beach bum! He is 6 weeks old now, and is eating well and seems to be growing like a weed! (He's already outgrown my favorite PJ's!) Jack holds his head up for as long as 20 seconds now when we do "tummy time," and he is much more awake and alert during the days now. I hope you all enjoy our photos, and thanks to everyone for their continued thoughts and prayers.