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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

J is for Just Accept

After my dad passed away I went through his computer to find photos for the slideshow at his service. I found two videos he took while visiting us in SC. I didn't know he had taken videos while Kayla was in the jump castle, but I'm glad I found them because in the videos he is calling out for Kayla, again and again. It's not much, but it's his voice and I only have a handful of videos of my dad.

Kayla was born in NM and my dad lived in FL. A few hours after she was born I called to tell him the news.

I didn't know how, or when, to tell him about the Down syndrome diagnosis. He already had a plane ticket bought for shortly after my due date so he would be visiting us within a couple of weeks. I didn't want to wait though, I felt like I needed to get it over with.

After the exclamations of a new granddaughter, and the details surrounding her birth, her name and stats and congratulations, I told him. I don't remember exactly how; I think I just said she had Down syndrome, or they thought she had Down syndrome.

It wasn't confirmed yet because they still had to do a blood test, but I knew; I knew by just looking at her.

His response wasn't what I expected. I remember him asking what that meant. In my head I was saying, "What do you mean what does that mean? She has Down syndrome! I don't know what that means, but it's Down syndrome!" Of course I didn't say that to him. I think I managed to say, "I don't know, it's Down syndrome, you know, like Corky from that show we used to watch Life Goes On."

His response was, "Ok, so?"

After giving birth your emotions are all over the place, like a roller coaster. Again, in my mind I felt frustrated with his lack of reaction to this news, with his nonchalance. Why wasn't he upset, or shocked, or I don't know, mourning? This was sad news wasn't it? Getting a diagnosis of Down syndrome is bad news isn't it? Shouldn't he be saying something else?

What he asked me was, "She's ok isn't she? She's healthy?"

Me, "Well yeah, I guess so." Me, inside my head, "But I'm taking home a daughter with Down syndrome! It wasn't supposed to work this way."

He didn't linger on this fact, he brought the conversation back around to his visit. He was so excited and couldn't wait to see her, and hold her. I could hear the smile in his voice as he talked about Kayla. As he talked about his firstborn just giving birth to her firstborn. I could tell his smile was from ear to ear. He was already a proud grandfather.

He teared up the first time he held her. 

As far as I knew he was never upset over Kayla's diagnosis (unless he hid it from me and didn't want me to know.). He never got upset or cried over the grandchild he thought he was going to have, he never had to 'come to grips' with this news ... because he just accepted it. He accepted it as readily and easily as he just accepted when I told him I had just given birth to a daughter (we didn't know the gender until her birth).

He just accepted that Kayla had Down syndrome without question.

Down syndrome was what she had, but what he had was a new granddaughter - and that was all that mattered to him.

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Mom24 said...

What a beautiful memory of your dad.

Leah said...

So beautiful. So glad you had someone to give that perspective when she was born. That kind of love is something, isn't it?

Kerri Ames said...

Oh my gosh, my friend...I have chills. How awesome was your dad? I mean seriously wicked awesome. He always gave you just what you needed. In this case, acceptance. Even though his loss still hurts, I'm so glad you have that memory