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To the New Dad of a Baby With Down Syndrome

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Dear Daddy,

It’s an average weekday morning. The hospital lab is semi-busy and I sit down across from a young couple who are holding a beautiful, scrumptious, smushy baby boy with a shock of brown hair. Understandably, I start flirting with this delicious infant who is staring at me with a gorgeous pair of deep-set, almond-shaped eyes. I casually mention that I have a son with 47 chromosomes. Mom glances up from her online grocery shopping while Dad incredulously, somewhat frantically asks: “You can tell?” I mention I know what to look for, but I’d rather describe what I see.

‘Cuz Dear Daddy, I see a lot in your future. I see highs that the rest of the world can only dream about. I see battles that will make you a beastly, but much more mature — and better — person. I see you bursting with pride when Junior sails past invisible barriers that doctors, teachers and other “experts” never thought he could achieve. I see God molding you into a freelance therapist, research scientist and legal advocate. I see you morphing into a better cheerleader than ever graced the Cowboys Stadium. I see you sneakily laughing when your mini-me sasses back — yep, you’re thrilled he’s exhibiting a typical behavior. Keep these moments in mind — you’ll need them. ‘Cuz eventually? He’ll want to drive, go to dances, play a sport, get a job, find a mate or travel the globe — on his own terms.

Those terrifying moments where you were so concerned everyone could “tell” that he had “something extra” might come flooding back. You may wince with embarrassment or shame, barely recognizing your former self. And instead of trying to hide that extra piece of deoxyribonucleic acid, you’ll celebrate it, perhaps even brag. You’ll know it’s his destiny to teach the world what he taught you and realize there was nothing to hide all along.

Getty image by Tatiana Dyuvbanova

Originally published: November 4, 2020
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