Saturday, September 13, 2008

13. Two months

We've reached the two-month mark! Ozzie is beginning to fill out a bit, but he's still so tiny he looks like a three-week-old. The past several weeks have been uneventful. We have not had any additional doctor visits or any therapy sessions - having Ozzie has been just like having any other baby.

We have gradually started reading some of the books we were given in the hospital. I haven't sat down and read a complete book yet, but I have read chapters that looked interesting to me. I can read that stuff now without getting upset. About 90 percent of the pain is gone. The sadness I still have inside is focused on Ozzie's future, which, at this point, is unknown. I'm mostly saddened when I think of the questions I will have to answer some day. Questions for which I have no answers...yet. That's the hardest part about having a child with Down Syndrome.

With a typical child, you wonder about his future through a narrow lens:
Will he be a good kid or a bad kid? (probably a good kid)
Will he be a doctor or a teacher or a businessman? (probably not a doctor, but that's okay)
Will he meet a wonderful girl and get married and give me grandchildren? (hopefully)

Down Syndrome has pulled the entire frame of reference out from under me.
Will he be able to speak normally? (let's keep our fingers crossed - many parents use sign language)
Will he be shunned by other children in the neighborhood? (please, please no)
Will I be wiping his butt when he is ten years old? (I hope not, but I guess it won't be the end of the world)
Will he ever live on his own? Have a girlfriend? Get married? Hold a job?

How does a child with Down Syndrome view the world? I have never seen a person with Down Syndrome in a movie, at least not that I can remember. With few exceptions, every story you have ever read and every TV show you have ever watched was populated exclusively with "regular" people. And why wouldn't they be? I've never even given it a second thought. But now I find myself trying to imagine how Ozzie will view his place in a world that in some respects has been built for everyone but him. It's the kind of thing that blows your mind.

Some of the books I have read say that after awhile, parents look at their child and don't see the Down Syndrome any more, they just see the person. That has not happened for me yet. I can't even imagine looking at Ozzie and not seeing it. But what has happened is that I see the Down Syndrome and it's okay. It's not soul-crushing, it doesn't make me angry. It really is okay.