My mom has a great blurb: Whoever said life was fair hasn't lived it.
Ain't that the truth.
I was so excited to have a granddaughter. I wanted so much for her-college, boyfriends, a career. I felt that we DESERVED a healthy baby. Laura didn't smoke, drink, or eat unhealthy foods. She exercised daily, got lots of rest, and took her vitamins religiously. And even though Ava was unplanned, no family could have loved her or anticipated her birth more than we did. Enter Williams Syndrome.
I work in public health. Day after day after month after year I talk to women who, with their "fiances", are popping out one healthy baby after another. No matter the drug use, welfare dependency, multiple fathers, unemployment, chlamydia, siblings in foster care: they always manage to keep making more healthy babies. And bitching about how hard it is to be burdened with children. At one point I seriously considered taking a leave of absence because I HATED THOSE WOMEN!!!! I actually said to one complainer, "Well, aren't you LUCKY to have such a healthy baby!" It was all I could do to be civil, let alone give a damn about any of them. Sadly, if I let myself think about those days too much the rage comes back just as harshly as ever.
So what changed? I met all of you! Although we are all scattered, I know that a quick post or email will bring the support that I and my family need. I found this network because Teresa, WONDERFUL Teresa, sent me an email through the listserv with a link to her blog. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. Clare Bear's picture popped up and she looked like she could be Ava's sister. And then came Tatum and Erik and Brady and Szabi and Avery and Emerson and Abi and Daven... And suddenly I didn't feel alone or singled out any longer. Every accomplishment your kids' achieve gives me hope for Ava. Your tears and anger validate my feelings. I truly don't know how I could manage without you.
I am so proud of all of you, of us, because navigating these waters has been, and will continue to be, the hardest job any of us will ever have. Yep, even those of us who are just grandparents. It's ok to feel sad and angry. I like to think that we are a real help to each other, even if it is only online. Who else could possibly understand?
So, Nancy, please don't feel alone. Keep sharing your feelings and know that we are all in this together. 'Kay?
PS: This picture was Ava's very first. All I could say (between racking sobs) was, "Oh my gosh, she has Julia Roberts' lips!"