31 for 21 #2: Sarah and Dec
When I first met my boyfriend, he told me he didn’t want to have children.
He told me this before we were together–I can’t remember how it came up in conversation. What I do remember, however, is that I asked him why.
I always thought he would be a great father. He is bright, effervescent, full of energy and love and joy, and he loves children. He’s that person bending down to a baby in a stroller’s level, cooing at them, calming them instantly.
“Exactly,” he told me. “I love children, and I intend to keep it that way.”
We started dating when Sarah’s mom was five months pregnant. He came into it knowing that there would be, at least half the time, a baby in his life. He was okay with that.
One of the things that selfishly scared me most when Sarah was diagnosed was the idea that I was going to lose Dec. My world had already been put in a tailspin, the last thing I wanted was to have to deal with losing the first person I had ever really loved (now THAT is a story for another time!) on top of it.
But he surprised me. He surprised me by accepting that baby into his life as wholly and completely as if he had wanted her as much as I had. His acceptance of her–a child he hadn’t even really signed up for–was a huge turning point in my own ability to accept her.
After five months, I am continually astounded by the bond that they have, the way he has embraced her and embraced Down Syndrome, raising awareness, advocating for her, and taking a stand to be the voice for those who may not have one. He, like Sarah, has taught me a lot about being a better person, and I’m always wondering how I–a flawed individual, selfish and stubborn, obstinate, unwilling to change–could end up with these people, these sweet, unquestioningly loving people as part of my world. I don’t deserve them, that’s for sure.
Sarah thinks Dec hung the moon. Dec thinks Sarah hung the moon. From the time he gets home from work until the time we put her to bed, it is rare for the two of them to leave each other’s company. If she is frightened or upset, she seeks him out. They are truly kindred spirits, bound together in some incredible way.
Sometimes I think that they were meant for each other. That Sarah was meant to be born with Down Syndrome not to screw everything up but to draw Dec and I closer together, to give him–and me–an awakening of sorts.
He told me the other day that the only way he would ever consider having a second child was if they, too, could be born with Down Syndrome.
I can’t say what the future holds, but I think that would be just perfect.