In the past year, Kepler has gotten very interested in giving and receiving greeting cards. As someone who has gotten out of the habit, I appreciate his enthusiasm and I like to make sure he has the opportunity to give cards to family members on their birthdays. As we were preparing for his birthday, he made sure to remind me that he would like a birthday card. You can see it above. Holy Cow™ does not have blue light shining through his holes. He’s just letting my laptop help him stand up better since he is paper-thin. (Har.)
You can see his delightful reaction here.
So, he’s 11 years old today. He managed to find cards in his new pack of football cards featuring players wearing number 10 and also number 11. See?
Pretty much everyone has some opinion about Down syndrome and what “downs kids” are like. Oftentimes, people will mention that they think people with Ds are always happy. Anyone who lives with or parents a child (or adult) with Ds knows this is not the case, but there is something in Kepler that seems more innocent to me. Even though he of course has some worries and concerns, he is also most amazing at giving love and affection, and accepting love and affection in return.
And I think that his ability to give and receive love so beautifully may be starting to rub off on me. I’ve probably said this elsewhere, but having the four older kids so close together threw me into a PhD level course of parenting when I was really at a 2nd grade level, so I had to do a lot of studying outside of class to manage. And, as I’m sure my kids would agree, although I did my best, I couldn’t do it all!
So having Kepler at an advanced maternal age is sort of like starting over as a parent, with a group of one. I didn’t really know what to expect from my 40s and 50s, and I don’t think I really thought about it much when I was in my 20s and 30s. But the past 11 years have been so much harder and so much richer than I would have ever imagined, and it is in no small part due to this child, who gifts us with laughter and challenges and joy and new learning and fun and innocence and being able to continue to see the wonders of the world through a child’s eyes.
I’m closing with a song that resonates for me in reference to all my children, and I daresay it may resonate for you as well. Today, I celebrate Kepler, my beautiful baby.