“What if Violet and Dash don’t want to take care of him all their lives.”
It is very hard for me to admit those were the first words that went through my head when the doctor first pointed out signs of Down syndrome in our newborn’s features.
I didn’t want my other children to feel burdened, obligated or disappointed in the futures I’d imagined for them.
What has happened instead is a relationship between Violet and Jack Jack that I can only be in awe of. Jack Jack and Dash have a fairly typical sibling relationship for brothers that share a bedroom. They play, fight and ignore each other all on a pretty equal basis.
Violet and Jack Jack adore each other. She takes care of him, plays with him, invites him into her games and makes sure others make space for him. Her name was Jack Jack’s first clear spoken word. Last night, because Daddy and Dash are off hunting, Violet slept in Jack Jack’s room with him. You would not have seen a more delighted kid at Christmas, then Jack Jack when she crawled into bed with him. He beamed with delight, hugged and patted her, clapped and giggled, because his Violet was with him.
A few weeks ago we met a new family at the park. They are new to Down syndrome and I recognized immediately the daddy’s fears when he questioned me closely about my older kids. How do they feel? Do they know? Will it be okay? He watched Violet and Dash intently while he held his new baby tight and glanced down at his two year old son and wondered how their lives would be.
I hope we showed them a good glimpse into what their future could hold and I am so thankful that I know now what I couldn’t imagine the day Jack Jack was born: I will see in my own family what true, unselfish love can really look like.