The Specter of Eight

Micah turned 8 this month, and it occurred to me that it wasn't a huge deal. I mean, other than the fact that my baby is 8 years old (my BABY!). (What's next? I won't even have kids in the single digit age bracket? All my kids are high schoolers or older? I'm checking into nursing homes? STOP THE TRAIN ALREADY.)

There was a time when the age of 8 was a huge and scary thing, looming in the darkness, taunting me. It was the magical number someone in a professional field pulled out of a hat, telling me that if a child with Down syndrome isn't talking by the time they're 8, chances are pretty great that they won't ever talk. Or at least not well. Or even normally. Or maybe not at all. One thing I have learned in the past 8 years is that nobody knows much of anything, and nobody likes to answer tough questions, and everybody is good at giving non-answers hoping to confuse a concerned parent long enough to push their questions off on someone else. So 8 was scary for me, knowing that it was coming closer and closer and I still had no answers. Last year, we got answers, and because I know, 8 didn't even phase me.

And yet, despite the fact that I came to terms long ago with the fact that my boy may never talk clearly, it still catches me in unguarded moments. Tonight, I was kicked in the stomach by one of those moments.

Micah left his Buzz wings outside in the rain, and while they still open and close like magic every time he pushes the button, they no longer talk. He was frustrated over this fact, and ended up taking them off and tossing them aside before huffing off to find something else to play with. Being a mom, my first thought was, "if you'd take care of your things, they wouldn't be broken." And along with that thought came another, because I'm a mom. I try to find solutions to problems. "He'll just have to do the talking himself when he activates his wings," I thought inside my head. And then I was kicked in the gut.

He can't. My boy can't talk. He can't supply his own words, and that's probably why he loved the fact that the wings talked. It does what he cannot.

Tonight, I hurt for my son, who lacks the words to tell me that he hurts for himself.



Flea said...

Oh Karen. Major gut kick. I'm so sorry. I feel it all the way from here.

Burgh Baby said...


But, this is a kid who is full of surprises. I'd never put anything past him.

Anonymous said...

Gentle hugs to you, Momma! I can't imagine how frustrating it is to want something so badly for your child and to just not know if it is going to happen. Michelle, howerver, is very right . . . with Micah, it is everything in his own time, and he just might surprise you!