This post is part 3 of a series in response to World Down Syndrome Day and a campaign entitled “Who I am.”
I just popped on some Spotify and silently thanked my husband, Eric, for my “a little more cultured than it used to be” music taste. We’re heading to a Sigur Ros show in April, if that tells you anything. I also googled Sigur Ros to make sure I spelled it correctly. I did. Whew.
Yup, I can thank him for many things. His ‘let it be’ way of life has certainly evened out my ‘I need to control everything’ philosophy. Don’t mistake his casual attitude for apathy, though. Or my intense OCD for crazy (no…go ahead with that one). So life in the Stoll House is like a carefully balanced teeter totter. Sometimes one of us pushes too hard, and the other goes flying, but hey…that’s what makes teeter tottering fun. And sometimes painful.
Eric and I have been married for 10 years (11 in May), and I got super lucky. I knew I was getting a great guy, but you don’t REALLY know, do you? I mean, you know he’s good, and you hope you’re not wrong. I knew he treated me wonderfully and had an amazing heart, and that’s all I could really know. But as your lives change and progress and move forward through time…you just never know how another person will handle things. Especially when the unexpected comes along.
If I called Eric an amazing father, I’d be completely understating him. He loves his girls with so much strength and silliness and craziness and passion that anyone can. His patience is never ending, which is pretty much a prerequisite for having children. He’s definitely got one up on me there. I mean, sitting for hours in the bathroom with Amelia during potty training speaks volumes.
Olivia came along in 2008. We were 30, naive, and completely unexpected her diagnosis. That is, until we both laid eyes on her. We both knew…separate discoveries, you might say. I’m not sure if this made things more painful or less; all I know is I didn’t want to lock eyes with him. Because I knew he knew, and I didn’t want to be right. Down syndrome just wasn’t part of the plan.
Funny thing about plans. They change.
That entire day is a big blurry ball of suck (mostly), but I’ll never forget our first exchange. “What are we going to do?” I cried. Literally. Eric’s next statement will forever solidify and represent the rest of our lives together: “What do you mean? She’s perfect.”
Has the journey to Down Syndrome Land changed my husband? I guess you’d have to ask him, but I’d venture to say no…not really. Except for the Ds awareness tattoo he got right after she was born.
I loved him so much for getting that tattoo. Characteristic of his reserved ways, I truly believe it was his way of handling things. That and buying a motorcycle.
I completely approved. After all, everyone deals with grief in their own way. I cried and started a blog.