As I am cleaning out the kids' play/art room I keep coming upon I Love Jude scrawled on the walls and various bookshelves in crayon. When I ask about it, Piper confesses "I just can't help it! I love Jude so much!"
Piper was the only beastie with me when we first saw Jude on the ultrasound machine at Dr. Rosemond's. She had named our fetus Skippy and was over-joyed to when the Dr. moved the wand over my stomach to reveal Skippy standing on her head. We grinned at each other because that little thing seem to tell us both volumes about that little being inside of me. Neither Piper nor I knew that this visit would be the beginning a journey through fear and ultimately into joy.
As we left the office, these first snapshots grasped in my hand, I told Piper "Skippy is going to be a trickster."
I didn't let Piper go to the rest of the visits even though she begged me. I just couldn't bare to have her there if we ever discovered something wrong with Jude's tiny heart. Piper was always with me in spirit. Everyday she would whisper to my belly "I love you." And she would tell us "I don't care if Jude has Down syndrome or not she's OUR baby." Piper taught me a lot about love as I struggled with my own ambivalence in those early days. Piper's love for Jude was unwavering and unquestioning.
Watching Piper and Jude together is rare glimpse into a love story where love comes unconditionally. The last time Piper was having an anxiety attack, Horacio was helping her to breath through it. He told her to imagine something that made her feel better. Later she told me she imagined holding Jude's hand. The same thing occurred to day when she was asked to share something she was grateful for. She hesitated, unsure of the word, so I whispered to her "What makes you happy?" "Jude" she said loudly beaming at her sister.
We talked a couple of weeks ago about her anxiety and she confessed to me that she worries about Jude dying. When Jude was in the hospital with RSV, it really scared Piper to see her with tubes in her nose. For a moment, I floundered because I am scared for Jude too. Right now she's healthy but I am all to aware this can change. So I told Piper what I tell myself "We can't know the future for any of us. But we can love now without holding anything back. We need to bask in this moment. This love."