Hobbs, I wouldn’t have picked you if I had just seen the label: Down Syndrome. Everything I knew about Down syndrome before meeting you was that one guy who bagged groceries at Safeway. And because I didn’t know him, his name, where he went to spend time and with whom after work I was afraid of him. It’s true: What we don’t know or aren’t sure of scares us. I also felt bad for not knowing that he was so regular. Different than I and yet a regular guy. Why didn’t I know I could just start up a regular ol’ conversation? That’s how sneaky our fear and our judgement can be. Sometimes I have no clue the joy that’s been stolen from me in the light of opportunity.
Either way you look at it- I chose you this day four years ago. I looked at you and your squinty eyes and rounded phalanges and Swiss cheese heart and I chose you. Of course, I needed help. The dad you picked out sure is a good one. He held you first, like he’s done with all the babies, and he held my hand the moment our sweet nurse instructed us: love your baby. Ok we said, we will. What else? Just take it one day at a time. Medical professionals at their finest. And I joke about it only because it’s odd to find that. It’s not standard. It’s not regulated, it’s love. Between the nurse and the doctor and the Dad we moved safely out of the recovery room into the world that lay suspended while we breathed you in for the very first time.
Since being out here in the world is hard sometimes, you my sweet Hobbs choose to sleep. A lot. And anywhere is just fine. A master Jedi of self care you are. I on the other hand struggle with that. Have four years of notes to work with and it is truly a work in progress thesis.
I had been in tears this morning because I didn’t have a birthday present for you and no cake. My sweet friend gently reminds me that the things that are important to ME aren’t important to you. All along it was my intention to give you a year off from the party-thing because you in fact hate loud singing and opening loud wrapping paper stuffed with things you don’t care for. The best gift I could give you today is to honor your love for Pandora, strawberry coconut milk ice cream and banging cups loudly on the garbage can. Oh and maybe put a bow on your favorite bag of Juanitas, fiesta size. AND to top it all off you already did your most favorite thing IN THE WORLD. You rode the BUS! Expectations, the pre meditated let down.
Having a babe like you, the kind with special needs isn’t all rainbows and motivational buttons. There are days when I feel less than equipped to give you what you need in order to be (successful, bright, employable..fill in the blank). Thankfully Hobbs, you have shown me that the only thing you really need is LOVE. And that so long as I can show up and choose to be your mama today, stained yoga pants and all, you me and the rest of the Smith’s are gonna be just fine. You’re one of a kind Hobbs Atly Smith. Happy 4th to the only guy I know who is truly never ashamed or afraid to be himself. What a gift!