The Day I Won the Lottery
Happy World Down Syndrome Day from Ace! Today I have the honor of sharing what I wrote for Aleteia’s For Her magazine about what World Down Syndrome Day means to me, almost one year after our little guy’s birth.
If I could write . . . [to] my pregnant self, the woman at the kitchen table with her laptop open, the woman who feared she was walking into a world of loss and sorrow, this is what I would say to her:
Sweet girl, take a deep breath. You just won the lottery.
This is not what you planned for and those are the best of all the adventures.
I would tell her that her older sons are capable of tenderness she’s never seen before. I’d tell her that loving another person is always a risk, whether or not that person has a disability. I’d tell her about the day I put three-month old Ace down for a nap and my oldest son asked me to pray “that Ace’s Down syndrome won’t hurt him.”
I’d tell her how when Ace cries my five-year-old half shouts/half sings the song we wrote together: “I am Acey! I am Acey! I’m a sweet little boy!” I’d tell her how, despite the chaos of all of it, as soon as Ace hears his brother’s voice he always stops crying, just so he can listen.
I’d tell her that there was never a different story. The one she had in her head, the one with three typically developing sons all growing up strong and handsome and successful with easy lives.
This was the real story all along, I’d tell her. The true story of our family. Your older sons were created with this plan already in motion. And it’s perfect this way, I’d say. Just watch and see . . .
I’d tell her it’s worth it, all of the risks, all the fears, all the therapies and challenges and the uncertainty of the future. It’s worth it because love is bigger and wilder and more spectacular than she can imagine.