“Come on Baby, let’s get away…”

Last Saturday night, as I changed my Warrior Princess into her pajamas, a song came to mind. Well really it was only about 4 lines of the chorus that came to mind. It was Janet Jackson’s “Escapade“. I remembered how when I was younger, I wanted to one day look like her in the “Love will never do without you” music video. The hair style, the head band, the tank top and jeans. For me she was #goals.

Come on baby, let’s get away
Let’s save our troubles for another day
Come go with me, we’ve got it made
Let me take you on an escapade

I scooped up my little one and danced around with her. She laughed at the same 4 lines over and over. My husband, a little tired of my broken record, found the song on Xbox Music and put us both out of our broken record misery.

As I dance, we got into a suddenly deep conversation:

“I wonder what it would be like to have another child.”

“What do you mean?” We had discussed family planning before and we would like to have another child.

“What if we have another child and they don’t have Down Syndrome? What if that child can do things that she can’t? What if they feel obligated to take care of her?”

“Like if we have another child and they’re typical [typical is the term used for children born without Down Syndrome, it is not okay to say “normal”], what will happen with Warrior Princess?” I asked for clarification.

“Yes, what if they’re jealous because they think she’s getting more attention? Or what if she feels jealous because it’s a new baby?”

I didn’t have an answer. “I think we’ll be okay and figure it out…” We continued to discuss what it might be like to have another child. I had read about moms being unsure of how they would be able to love another child as much as they loved their first and only (if they had a single birth first). At the time I thought that was silly because moms just love, it what they do. I now thought, how would I be able to love someone else as much as I now loved my Warrior Princess? How does your heart find the space for love? And logistically, how do you find the time in the day?

As I continued to dance around, I remembered being about 5 years old and dancing around in the living room with my mom as “iiiiiii wanna dance with somebody…” played from the radio, my older brother and I bopping around the living room. Then Gloria Estefan and Sade playing as I danced on top of my mother’s feet. My mom was able to love us both (and then all three of us).

Some how, the heart grows as the family grows and there’s love enough for everyone.

We’ll have a good time…
Leave your worries behind…
On an escapade, baby

But will she look like me?

At some point during my pregnancy (maybe around 23 or so weeks) I stood in the living room and asked my husband, “What if she wants to get plastic surgery?” He looked at me like I was crazy.

“Why would she want that?” he asked.

“Because…what if she doesn’t look like us?” I mused.

“I think she’ll look like both of us.”

For him it was that simple. For me, not so much.

When I was in middle school I thought my nose was disproportionate to my face (really it was more that it was the feature that most reminded me that I looked like my father) and I wondered if I should get a nose job. I asked my maternal grandmother what she thought and she agreed that a nose job would be fine. She even pinched the bridge of my nose. That, for me, validated that it was wrong.

Down Syndrome comes with a whole host of “maybe your child could be born with_______ and maybe they won’t” qualities. It also has certain physical markers that may or may not show up. I wondered what if other people pick on her because of these physical markers? Middle school was a torturous time for me and my heart breaks thinking of my Warrior Princess having to experience 1/16 of what I went through. How strong would the physical markers be? Would these physical markers over power her features? Would she look in the mirror and wonder why she didn’t look like me or Matt? More than her not being able to see me in her reflection, maybe my fears were about me not being able to see myself in her.

When Warrior Princess was born, and for many days after, I would look at her and think that she looked like herself. She is mine and I love her. I didn’t see myself, I just saw my little girl, my fighter, her toothless grin, her sassy arms flailing about.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday I took a selfie with her in my arms (and one of my dogs, Jackson, had his head on my shoulder). When I looked at it, I saw myself in her face. She has the shape of my eyes and my eyebrows. I liked it, I liked being able to pinpoint my face in hers. But the funny thing is, it didn’t change how I felt about her at all. My heart didn’t swell any larger, my love didn’t grow any deeper.

I already loved her face.

The selfie I took with my Warrior Princess.