Thursday, November 3, 2011

What's next

The cat's out of the bag, or the bun's in the oven, or whatever the expression should be. Lilly is expecting a little brother or sister, to be born in April.

We are overjoyed, and I am terrified, of course - we were thisclose to being done with everything dependent. Lilly's probably more independent that me and Jon at this point, so now we're hitting the "reset" button and going back to babyhood (along with miss independent preschooler??). Life will be different, I'm sure, and crazy at times, but welcoming this new baby into our lives will be amazing. Right?

Lilly will be a great big sister. She's been talking to my belly every night: "Hi baby. It's Lilly. I'm with mommy and daddy. Ok? Love you, baby. Ok, bye."

The other day, she said she needed to show baby something. I said ok, and she pulled out a pamphlet. Of a 5 star resort in Cancun (we get tons of junk mail that Lilly goes through). Lilly showed my belly button (the baby) the pictures of Mexico, the ocean, the beautiful resort, kids laughing, parents holding frozen drinks, and asked if baby wanted to go.

And I swear, I thought right then: "OMG, Lilly's right. We've never taken her to Mexico. We should go right after the baby's born."

And then, I thought to myself: "Are you kidding me? Stop it with the travel planning!" And I quickly dropped the idea... or, at least, placed it on the top shelf of my mind with the "someday we'll do it" plans.

It's weird, when Lilly was born, and we found out she had Down syndrome, one of my strongest thoughts was, this will not limit her. She will do everything she wants to do. She will be exposed to every experience, because she can. 5 years later, Lilly has done and seen more than most people I know. She's accomplished more and worked harder.

That's the weird thing, when I think about this next child. To have a child that doesn't have to struggle, but also won't know how to work as hard. To have a child who does things easily, but doesn't make the same impact on the world. I'm not trying to short change the child - I'm sure he or she will be amazing. But it's just such a difference than what we're used to. But that will not limit our family. We'll have two precious kids, with all their strengths and weaknesses. Maybe our next child won't have the magic of Lilly, but I know he or she will accomplish so much in whatever they take on - and who knows, maybe their inspiration will be their big sister.

I look forward mostly to seeing their relationship. To see Lilly "mommy" the baby when it's little, to see her teach the toddler as it grows, to watch them develop a friendship, a strong bond that will surely surpass even what we've built with Lilly. To watch our kids love each other and become true playmates and friends.

Will we slow down? Will we stop showing Lilly everything and giving Lilly (almost) everything? No. She still deserves to do everything under the moon, just because she can. Because she is not limited, by chromosomes or stereotypes. But our next child, they will do and see it all along with her.

Just today, I saw an article about the Great Wall of China. And it asked, how many of you have a goal to see this at some point in your life? And, I swear, I immediately thought: "Wow! I've never thought about it before, but we should definitely take the kids there in a few years!"

And this, from someone who has declared that she is sick and tired of traveling... But for my kid(s), the sky's the limit.


Becca said...

Awesome, awesome post, Cathleen. It will be so fascinating watching the dynamic between the two of them! Every study I've seen and every situation in real life I've seen between a "typical" sibling and a sibling with Down syndrome shows that the impact that the sibling with Ds has on the other child is pretty darn amazing. All positive. So excited for you guys! Love that Lilly's so excited, too! She's going to be an AWESOME big sis. :-)

Lil'Sis said...

Congratulations Cathleen and same to the rest of the family...I'm certain your second will have a ton of "magic" too in their own way, and with a big sis as wonderful and loving as Lilly life will continue to be a blessing. So excited for you all.

Renata Alva said...

Congratulations!!!!You are an amazing mom!God bless you and your family!

Linda said...

Congrats! Lilly will be a great big sister. : )