Since Emily's birth I have read countless birth stories told by other parents of a child with Down Syndrome...and it seems most of them recall that before anyone told them, they knew about that extra chromosome as soon as they looked at their child's eyes. The same can be said for my husband and I...we both noticed Emily's eyes immediately, even though neither of us said anything about them to each other. Over the past year I have thought about those moments after her birth...I didn't know Emily had Down Syndrome at the time, but I knew her eyes were telling me something profound.
At first Emily's eyes told me of a life that would be different, difficult, and possibly one that would be full of despair unimaginable at that point. Her eyes were evidence, a feature the Dr would use to tell us our beautiful baby girl had Down Syndrome. Though I am ashamed to say it now, Emily's eyes conjured up such feelings of fear and sadness I had never felt before that I didn't want to look at pictures of her where those beautiful baby blues were captured up close. The eyes were a reminder that my daughter was different and because of that..I was now different...and no longer "normal". There were days I would wake up and had almost forgotten about the down syndrome...only to see her eyes and feel my heart breaking and mourning the loss of the child I thought I wanted...the one with a "perfect" set of chromosomes...the one that never existed beyond my imagination.
After Emily was born I remember her staring deeply into my eyes, without interuption, as if to say "look at them, look at my eyes, they will tell you everything you need to know"...and they have. Those eyes have told me the truth about the life of my perfect little Emily. There just isn't any room for darkness in their sparkle! Every day that I get to wake up to those little peepers is a blessing I could never have imagined for myself, but God knew I needed.
Emily's eyes are my very favorite feature of hers...they are so captivating that if you look into them you will have no choice but to be swallowed up into her world, a world of such beauty I was incapable of seeing before. Though it may be a while before she can utter the words "I love you Mommy", the sparkle in her eyes when she sees me has told me of such love more times than I can count. Emily's eyes even tell me when I am about to score the most incredible smile I have ever seen, one that starts as a small glimmer of light and moves all the way through her body. Those big blue eyes tell me of a life that is different, but so full of purpose. Emily was right in her plea to me on the day she was born...if I look into her eyes I see a life bursting with promise and blessing. When I find myself lost in the world of early intervention, leukemia, dr. appointments, failed hearing tests, and many other distractions...I will look into those incredible eyes, bearing those signature brushfield spots, and they will tell me everything I really need to know.
(an older picture, but one that captures one of the most beautiful sites I will ever see in this lifetime)