I don’t know why I’m surprised.

Every time we raise the bar Charlie meets us right there, meeting if not exceeding our expectations.  Sometimes I need to remind myself of this.

{You love to read books.  Throughout the day I find you in your rocking chair, red chair, or the nursery glider reading through a stack of books.  You sign when reading a signing book, point at the pages and shout out the words you know at all the right places.  Your favorite book today is Blue Hat, Green Hat; when we get to the silly turkey you shout out oops!! and dissolve into giggles.}

Our expectations for our children are high, believing as parents this is our role.  Providing a loving and safe environment where our children are encouraged to grow, achieve and learn independence.  And with safe boundaries and freedom, our children do indeed reach and grow.  I’d be naive to think this won’t become more complex as they get older, but know that as parents we will also grow to met our own high expectations.

We’ve always said that we would raise Charlie with the same expectations that we have for our other children – Down syndrome or not.  And we do.  But sometimes we get stuck.  We play it safe, using a high chair longer than needed, hanging onto a routine of those long ago baby days.  We get comfortable.

With Charlie some milestones may not have happened in a single blink of an eye, but nevertheless they happened.  And now each milestone comes quickly.  They are simple milestones – not flashy like sitting or walking.  But they are milestones in their own right.  Putting a golf ball on the course alongside big brother and dad.  Going down the slide.  Playing independently.  Placing dirty clothes in the laundry basket.  Reading quietly.  Assuming the role of big brother.  These simple milestones could easily go unnoticed, but never are.  We see each one, and it makes my heart swell with pride and love.

On the other hand, Henry meets our expectations easily, often pushing all of my buttons and re-testing each boundary in the process.  I often wonder if we expect too much of him.  Maybe this is just the role of the first-born?  Maybe this is just the role of our firstborn.  My sweet, independent boy who without a doubt is wiser than his five years.  This is probably not a coincidence.

Our Charlie is almost a preschooler. And speech aside, he is right where he is supposed to be.

I’d be lying if I said it has been easy.

Raising my children.

I’m five years into this parenting gig and my perfectly healthy, very bright, mr. personality, little boy is just as challenging and delightful to parent as my thoughtful, deliberate, silly son who happens to have Down syndrome.

Go figure.

All these words and it boils down to this:

I love my children.  Parenting is hard.  No matter what.

But there is joy in the journey.  No matter what your journey looks like.


10 thoughts on “Oops

  1. I am just so excited to see Lily reach these milestones, after watching your Charlie! I am just in love with him, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cuter little boy!

  2. I thought you should know that your blog helps me be a better mommy. My almost-four-year-old son is autistic, and it’s so easy to forget that joy can be found in the most surprising places. You remind me of that every time I read one of your posts. Thank you thank you!

  3. I so needed to hear that tonight.
    My daughter has special needs, and, well, it’s just down right hard so many days.
    I needed to hear those words…joy in the journey.
    And, btw, I don’t even know how I came to find your blog, but I have really enjoyed reading it!

  4. Libby you give me so much hope and inspiration. I look at my Jerry and can’t help but smile everyday when he achieves even the simplest of things. Though miles apart, you inspire me alot. Thank you.

  5. Charlie is sooo absolutely adorable! I was also blessed to have such a wonderful person in my life. My little sister, Laura, who is almost 9 months old who has DS too! She is such a blessing :)

  6. I’m only six months into my parenting journey, but already I can see how easy it is, and will continue to be, to get stuck. Thank you for your wonderful words and the beautiful pictures of Charlie reading and signing. Love them!

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