But today, I want to write about joy. Joy over nine months of love, joy, average life, and the settling in of another beastie into our family. Nine months ago today, Jude came to us through a fast labor that did take me a bit by surprise. I remember that evening still, a little shell shocked, tentative with this new person who I thought might be so different from me, from the rest of us. I held her long into the night, and fell in love with every bit of her. I cried into her hair, and promised that I'd love her forever. I can still feel the weight of her against me, and the smell of her soft hair will always be with me.
And the love affair continues. 9 months old is a magical age. 9 months in the womb and nine months out. There is a tentative quality to babies, for me at least. I don't really know who they are, and while children are always becoming as we all are, there are some traces to who they are at this tender age. At nine months, I see less of just the baby and more of them. It's been that way with all of my beasties, and it is this way with Jude.
Jude has an amazing personality. She is so complex, and rich. I feel that it will take a life time to know her. The mystery of being is strong when you have children. You always feel that you will run out of time before you know them, and you will because they are always morphing. Reaching new places. Jude is starting this amazing journey. Already I see glimmers of what will shape her.
She is fierce.
Jude growls at us if she's feeling like we're intruding on her space or cramping her style. She doesn't like to have help forced on her, and wants to do things on her own.
She puts up with my antics, with being my model but she's not docile about it. She'll grunt, makes faces me, basically make it clear that she won't tolerate much more. She's no fool, this little girl, and she's not biddable. A highly desirable quality in any girl.
Jude is sly with her humor. You have to work to get a smile from this girl. But she's goofy on her own terms. She'll make a face, give you a sly grin, invite you to play a little game with her. She is not someone who is always happy though. Jude is not a stereotype, and her humor is so subtle you might miss her.
Jude loves to play more so than any of the other beasties. She loves her toes but she loves toys too. She has favorites: her balls, a stuffed panda, her little piano. She also likes to play with us. Her brother and sisters are endless sources of entertainment. I like how she engages with them, and how they engage with her. She is so much a part of our lives and the ways she plays with us demonstrates her connection to us. How she is so much a part of us now.
Now at nine months, I am stunned at how I even worried that she would be so different than us. It's funny how we can embrace difference in so many ways but then we act so scared of other differences. Our ignorance betrays us perhaps but really it's no excuse. Because here we are nine months later with this amazing, complex budding human being bursting into midst. And I no longer cry into her which I did for a long time after she was born. I cried not because I was sad but because I felt so awful for the stupid things I believed about what it would mean to have a child with Down syndrome. What becomes clear is that Jude is blossoming into someone amazing just like my other kids: at the same rate, the same pace, but in her own different way. They all had their unique perspectives to bring and Jude is not exception. But the process remains the same.