I woke up the other morning just as dawn was creeping through the blinds. I could hear H moving about the kitchen, making coffee and likely oatmeal. Camille lay sleeping on a couch we have the foot of our bed. She was curled up around several books. Rowena was nestled into the comforter, and fit neatly into the crock of my arm was little Jude. I am never happy waking up in the morning but that morning I felt a surge of contentment that was as close to bliss as I will ever get that early. Jude has the softest skin I've ever felt and the feel of her face on my arm is a pleasure that I am not sure I can convey with words. That morning she was still asleep, and her lips would curl up into the faintest of smiles before relaxing again. And I realized as I felt that crazy intense love I feel for my family that this time I felt it without fear.
You see, I made a conscious decision a few days before Jude was born to not live in fear. It is easy to live in fear when you have a child that has the potential to have a life time of health problems. Fear could easily be my companion as I ponder Jude's future...worry about her intellectual abilities, her physical abilities, her social abilities. Fear quickly over took me when the Dr. said to me at sixteen weeks "It's as we expected your baby has Down syndrome." The first book I read was Babies with Down syndrome which is a great book but does a through job of outlining all the problems that can come with an extra chromosome. I began from the day I put that book down until quite recently to worry. Those who read my blog know that I'm a pro when it comes to worrying. Finally I had a real reason to worry. Those who read this blog also know that my worrying holds me back from fully embracing love as well. Thus it I began a complicated relationship with my unborn baby both loving her and fearing her at the same time.
The Thursday before Jude was born began with me worrying. I don't know why but I woke up worried about Jude. I cleaned my room feeling a need to make this room perfect. And I kept thinking that maybe she would die in this room and it should look good. It was a crazy thought but it consumed me. When I was done, I was exhausted and I laid down to nap only to wake convinced that Jude was going to die. I cried, sobbed alone in the dark, wrapped around my stomach. I couldn't protect her from Down syndrome. And then I decided quite consciously that I was not going to live with this fear. I decided that even if Jude only had one day with me it was going to be the best damn day ever. I was going to love her with the passion she deserved even if it was only a second, a blink of an eye.
And once I got over my shock upon seeing her that is what I set out to do. To say to love this way is a pleasure is an understatement. Every second with Jude is like a lifetime of emotion. There are times when I am looking at her that I feel so full of feeling that I might just dissolve into the universe. When she makes me laugh it is a laugh filled with fullness and nothing held back. I am finding that when you let go of the fear love is something pure, something like a bright light that washes over you and leaves you new. This kind of love is big, bigger than my family, bigger than humanity perhaps. As I lay there in the morning with Jude's sweet weight against my body and the smell of her hair in my nose, I feel that I might know what it's like to see God.