The Joy Between the Lines

Wil reading

As much as I try to plan, sometimes, life grabs me by the collar, and says, Hey, sit tight! This needs to be one of those day-by-day things.

Oh, no, not one of those! I like to fly with a plan. This day-by-day thing takes time and patience. I’m not so good with that.

But, Life is always right. So, I do my best to listen. But, I’ve had to learn the hard way.

I remember, when Wil was just a baby, my friend told me about someone who had an older child with Down syndrome. My friend thought it would be helpful if I talked to her.

So, I gave this woman a call, and we had a great chat. We talked all about the joys of our children, the doctor visits, what toys and therapies were best, and so on.

She was very friendly, kind, encouraging…and forthcoming. Or so I thought.

A found out later, she intentionally left out some of the challenges I will encounter as Wil gets older.

Why would she do that? I was hurt, and I was a little scared. What was ahead of me? What did she think I couldn’t handle?

It was Life telling me to be in the Present, and not to get too far ahead of myself.

But, of course, I didn’t listen. I needed a plan!

Wil was so little, and there was so much I didn’t know yet. I wanted to be ahead of the game. I wanted to be prepared.

So, among other books, I checked out one from the library written by two young men with Down syndrome. They spoke candidly of their life, and I simply wasn’t ready for all that I read. All I could see were the challenges.

I returned the book, unfinished and tear-soaked. It was just too much too soon.

I read many other books, such as “Babies with Down Syndrome” and “Common Threads,” which is a book that contains stories from people who have had close experiences with individuals with Down syndrome. They are all very positive and uplifting stories. That was what I needed when Wil was a baby. I needed lots of reassurance and positivity.

I’ve learned, with lots of reminders, that much of this journey is one to be taken day-by-day. All challenges are not heaped on us at once. When a new challenge presents itself, we handle it. And in so doing, we learn and we grow. In this growth, we begin to see that there is joy that is hidden between the lines.

It’s the kind of joy that is discovered in hearing your child pronounce a single consonant they have struggled with for months, or having the oral strength to blow a bubble, or to keep their feet to the pedals to move a bike, or grasp a pencil in just the right way, or seeing your child’s friends clear the way on the basketball court so your child can shoot a basket.

So, Life, in its Wisdom, pulls us back from our big plans every once in a while, and snaps us into the present. That is what that kind woman I chatted with was trying to do. She wanted me to enjoy what I had in the Now, so I would gain the strong foundation I needed to go forward.

Oh, and as for that book, I still cry when I read it, but this time around they are happy tears.

I still see all of the challenges, but now I am able to read the joy between the lines.

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