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The Unexpected

May 17, 2017

Life is a whirlwind and the unexpected happens all the time.


Every morning you wake up with a plan, a routine. You go to sleep having a general idea of what the next day will hold. And then one day you wake up and start your day, and something happens.


Something unexpected.


Something that changes your life forever.


For me, that something was the moment my son Cooper was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.


Suddenly my world was changed forever. One moment I held my son, taking in his baby smell, his cute chubby face and hands, and dreaming of the beautiful life he would have. And then 12 hours later, I was left devastated. I couldn’t breathe. I was afraid. I feared the unknown.


But that is life.  Suddenly something unexpected happens, your world tilts, and you don’t know which way is up. You have no idea what to do next. You think you are all alone. You think God doesn’t care about you, like maybe He is punishing you. And then after the dust settles, and the debris from the bombshell that has just been dropped on you is cleared, you realize everything will be okay.


You have a moment of clarity and you begin to see the next step to be taken. The shaky ground you feel might crumble underneath you at any moment, suddenly feels steadier below your feet. You realize there is a reason for everything that happens, even if you are not sure what exactly that reason is now. You take a deep breath and move forward.


Just because you can make a bit more sense of things, doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. Just because you have accepted the hand you have been dealt, doesn’t mean there won’t be ups and downs.


My son Cooper is my whole world, and I truly believe he is a gift given to us by God.


I think God knew exactly what He was doing when He gave us our beautiful baby. Most days I believe this wholeheartedly. Then there are some days where I feel like I can’t breathe again. My heart hurts, and I feel like my world is crashing in around me.


And that is okay!


Life isn’t always perfect, and it isn’t always easy. It is okay to not always be brave. It is okay to cry now and then. It is okay to feel like locking yourself in your room, and shutting yourself off from the world sometimes. It is okay, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling guilty about feeling that way.


Most days, I look at my beautiful son and I see a happy beautiful baby, loving life. My heart feels full and I couldn’t imagine life without him.


He has enriched my life in every way.


He is my biggest reason for getting up in the morning, and being the best Mom I can be. But some days, I struggle with his diagnosis.


I still put on a brave face though. I smile when I feel like crying. I patiently take him to his therapies, and practice things with him that most moms take for granted. I try to be strong when I see him unable to grasp simple concepts that his friends already have down pat. I keep smiling when I feel like shutting down. Not because I wish Coopers Down Syndrome away, but because I feel alone.


I feel like people don’t understand.


They can’t.


It isn’t their fault. They try, they sincerely do. But unless you are a mother to a child born with special needs, you can’t possibly get it.


The other night, as my husband and I were driving home from our friends place, I broke down. I had spent the day having a wonderful time with some of my best friends and their ‘typical’ babies, and as much as it was fun, it was also so hard. They were walking, and talking, and crawling circles around Cooper.


Did it affect Cooper? No.


He was perfectly content to take it all in and play contentedly with his toys.


I think the hardest part for me was that before I had my playdate, I was so incredibly proud of his accomplishments. He is holding his own bottle, sitting on his own and reaching for toys, he is starting to roll around all the time, and manages to move around somehow when I am not looking. He is eating chunks of solids instead of purees, and he is even trying to feed himself. He is also way more aware of his surroundings, and actively engages with us, even playing little games. These little things that he does mean so incredibly much to me.


Then I see his peers and their advancements, and I feel like Cooper is not where he should be. I see the differences between him and his friends. I start focusing on the negative, rather than the positive. I feel sad. I feel like this is not how my life was supposed to be. I worry about Coopers future. I wonder if he is going to get left behind. And in all this I feel so much guilt.


Why am I discounting my son and all his wonderful accomplishments?


Why does it matter if he is reaching milestones a little later in his life?


It really doesn’t.


If I give myself a chance to take a deep breath, and take a step back, then I realize my sadness is just fear. My fear stems from not knowing what the future holds. I think that is something everyone can resonate with.


Sometimes something unexpected happens, and our first reaction is fear.


Fear of the unknown, fear of losing control, fear of what is to come.


But it is always going to be okay.


One day things will make sense. Every day things get a little clearer. Yesterday is the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a Gift from God, that is why it is called the present. We never know what tomorrow holds, but we need to take every day as it comes, and be thankful for every moment we are given, we need to make the most of each day, and not take anything for granted.


Yes, tomorrow holds the unknown, and that can be scary but it also can be amazing.


No matter what happens, you will be able to handle it, and it will only make you stronger. It will make you a better person, and that is a wonderful gift.


That is why though this all, I count Cooper the biggest blessing in my life. I love being Coopers mom because even when life with him gets tough to navigate some days, we get through it together. He helps me see what really matters, and that makes me a better mom, a stronger person and a more beautiful human being.


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