The pains in her stomach, it’s time to go. She is going to meet her son. The tiring push after push followed with the pain, oh the exhaustion of giving birth. Last push….he was finally here! Her Lorenzo made it to the world! When she held her sweet new baby to her chest, looked down at him, she smiled, and she knew right then. She looked into his sweet, beautiful brown eyes… She knew he was not like the majority of other children in the world, he was special, he was her precious gift. A gift for a mother deserving and perfect for the task given her, before she even knew it.
Scared and in love all at the same time. Oh how she was yet to discover her true potential and her strength but soon she would. You see he was her gift in life, and she was his. The doctors come to confirm what she already knew, the signs leading them to believe her son has down syndrome…47 instead of 46. The many things that ran through her head that night making it impossible to sleep. She knew Vic would love him, she knew his cousins and aunties would love him. She knew that things weren’t going to be easy, they weren’t going to be typical. However, she also knew how loved Lorenzo was already, and Down syndrome wasn’t going to take him from them. She feared his health issues might! She needed to make sure those things weren’t going to happen. That she had them all taken care of. Those things scared her, terrified her for her family.
When he was born, his blood was too thick, his heart was too weak, his body working too hard to even allow him to eat. He only sucked three times when she tried to breastfeed him. Those three little sucks meant the world to her. The time would pass and it would soon be a week before she even got to try again, and succeed.
It’s hard at first, but it’s real. We all have feelings about things. We live them daily, we breathe them with every breath, we go through them, and soon they dissolve into completely different and new feelings. She loves him, she will learn all she can and make a way. His gift to her already beginning to set in. I will never forget the day. I was honored to meet him and hold him in my arms so small and fragile but full of life, with hungry eyes. It was the day I personally witnessed an enormous gift from such a tiny beautiful little boy, given to my friend, his mother. She had been forever changed by his life and it showed. It was a beautiful sight to see.
The time has come for surgery, she knew these days would come, she has researched so much in the time passed and knows what to expect. It was already known by her that Renz was born with a heart defect that often requires surgery in early infancy. She already knew something was wrong and when surgery was confirmed, it was a huge feeling of relief and anticipation, even excitement. Her excited thoughts of “MY baby is going to be less sick, he is going to struggle less!”.
Then the moment came…the moment she had to actually leave him in the care of the doctors. At that point she was afraid, she did not want him without her for this. So afraid that they would not know how special he was to her and her son, and how so very loved he was by them. How much they needed him in their lives. The fearful thoughts rushed in her mind “ Would they would treat him like just a body, a number and not a boy? Would something go wrong in there because of this? Am I ever going to see him smile his wonderfully fulfilling smile at me again?”. She calmed her thoughts and her heart…another gift from her son. He came out of surgery okay. He is such a strong boy, went through recovery like a champ, his strength is undeniable.
Every morning she wakes up and the first thing on her mind is her sons. She goes to them ready for the day to begin, with all its challenges it holds, all the mountains that have to be climbed and the others that must be moved… it’s still a beautiful day to her. Every moment she is making sure her children know love, honesty, respect and kindness. A woman that is also fierce and will take on anyone that challenges her son’s abilities. She walks with so much grace, you would NEVER see the weight on her shoulders unless she told you. She has evolved over the time since her son was born, a butterfly was born in all its grace and beauty.
You see her challenges are beyond the normal challenges of a mother. One son that the world considers normal, and another son that the world considers different. The endless appointments and therapies. The balancing of both her sons and time spent with each.
Trying to ensure her oldest has his moments to be himself and enjoy a life of a young child, while still being sure he knows his responsibility to his brother and embraces it. What a heavy balance to ensure one misstep can send rejection of the life spiraling in. Yet again she does this with grace as if it is effortless to accomplish, not even thinking of the challenge at hand here. Balancing one son that needs more than the other. She does this well…another beautiful gift from her Renz.
To her, she has a job to do and it’s all that matters to her, not your pity she doesn’t need it, not your false sense of understanding she doesn’t care for it, not your approval of her child and lifestyle she doesn’t need you. They have their own secret little family in their home and if you’re worthy she will let you be a part of it. You see she is made of strength, dedication, love, understanding, and kindness. Nothing else. A beautiful gift from her son on the day he was born, seeded there to grow before she even knew it.
What I see in my friend is a decision to keep moving forward, when so many didn’t. An astounding 75 percent terminate from blood test results alone during pregnancies. In her you will see determination to make changes in the world for the better. Like in 1990 for educational rights for the disabled… the same fiery passion lives in her. I see a mother that advocates for her son in every moment. I see a mother being her son’s voice, she is loud, and she will be heard. She is a testament of true strength and selflessness. I see a mother who is her biggest critic, but is perfect in every way for her son’s. I see my friend giving purpose and value to two lives that are so different in the world’s settings at the same exact time with each other.
Every mother worries about their children, we wonder who they will become, what can we do better to make sure they grow up and make good choices… As much as we like to believe we can protect them from disease or a cruel world unwilling to accept them, the basic truth is, we can’t.
When I get to join their family, and we plan time together. I enjoy every moment I take it in, they are fleeting and won’t last long. I see the beautiful tiny boy I once held so much older now. He has a smile that can melt any worry away and make you forget every problem. Nothing but being happy seems important when you are around Renz it’s a beautiful gift he has for the world. I watch a little boy play with such life inside him doing things so many say can’t be done. I listen to his mother speak of the milestones he has passed before he even should have with a happy heart, because he is perfection in all the most beautiful ways.
I watch his brother watch over him and play at the same time with such ease like he was born for this specific brother. The way they tie into each other complementing each other in every sense with every motion. It’s a harmonious balance between them. What Renz has given to them with his life is probably more than any 46 human in today’s world could ever give over an entire lifetime to another human being. Yet here is this young man doing it since birth so effortlessly. He gives even to those he meets in spirits and happiness. Oh the day he was born she didn’t know it yet…but he had a gift for her. She needed him, and he needed her.
**Credits To Lia Castro for allowing me to write this piece about her family and contributing to the story.**