A drive to have pa­tience

Find­ing hap­pi­ness in ‘fetch­ing’ a glass of cold water is the true test

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - Ch­eryl Ke­hoe Rodgers Colum­nist

When I was preg­nant with Matthew, dear Lord, about 18 years ago, and we re­ceived the di­ag­no­sis of Down syn­drome, the first thing I felt was in­cred­i­ble fear. We were both scared, my hus­band and me. Scared of how that ex­tra chro­mo­some would af­fect our baby, scared of how it would af­fect our lives and the lives of our two older chil­dren and scared, well, just plain scared.

I tried to ed­u­cate my­self as much as my brain would al­low, but, some­times, the more I read, the worse I felt. At some points I would just try to find the good in what seemed to be a night­mare. So, I thought, since Matthew will be de­vel­op­men­tally de­layed, we’ll ex­pe­ri­ence his life at a slower pace and we’ll be able to sa­vor and cel­e­brate each mile­stone. And since he’ll have that ex­tra chro­mo­some, he’ll be happy and lov­ing all the time. At least that’s what peo­ple told me – chil­dren with Down syn­drome are al­ways so happy and lov­ing….

OK, so, now let’s fast-for­ward 17 years. We’ll skip over that first year of med­i­cally-in­duced stress and pass over those in­cred­i­bly cute toddler years and the mon­u­men­tal first years of real school where ev­ery step for­ward was a huge win.

Yes, let’s skip over all those years, re­mem­ber­ing that I be­lieved we would be rais­ing a child who was lov­ing and happy — 24-7. It was the

RODGERS >> PAGE 7

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