I’ve been thinking about Emmy getting married. Yes, I realize she’s only 1.5 years old. Hear me out.
When Emmy was born, I thought that her life was full of limitless possibilities. The world was her oyster. She could be President. She could be an astronaut. She could be a lawyer or a doctor or a professor. Anything at all. There is joyful freedom that comes with telling a child, “You can be anything you want.”
Five weeks after Emmy was born, I found out she had Williams syndrome and looked online to find out more details about her condition. Within seconds, I was distraught to see all the things that she might never do: drive a car, live on her own, pursue a career, get married, have children…
There is nothing quite like sitting on the couch with a beautiful newborn baby in your arms and staring at a long list of things that she may never do. My limitless world of possibilities vanished, and I found myself hoping that she would be able to just cross the street or tie her shoelaces.
Early on, the topics of marriage and children were constantly on my mind. If my children don’t want to get married or have kids of their own, that is totally fine with me. But I always imaged that they would at least have the choice to do either of those things. I couldn’t get over the idea of Emmy’s choices being taken away right from birth.
Williams syndrome was not in either of our families before we had Emmy. It was a totally random (1 in 10,000) occurrence. However, if Emmy has children, she has a 50% chance of passing it along.
I struggled with the marriage and children questions for a while and then finally managed to file them away into “things to worry about waaaaay down the road.”
Well, last night the questions popped back up again. We rented a lovely documentary called Monica and David about two people with Down syndrome who got married. JUST BEAUTIFUL. I highly recommend renting it on Netflix. It illustrated so clearly how people with special needs want the same things as everyone else. Above all, they want to feel love and connection. That is really the basis of all human life. And when Monica and David expressed their wish to have a child, to the dismay of their family members, it was because they had so much love to give.
There is an image that keeps scrolling through in my mind. The image is of Emmy playing with a baby doll and saying, “I am the mommy, and this is my baby,” as Charlotte has done countless times before. It’s the image of Emmy saying, “When will I be a mommy?” as Charlotte has asked countless times before. It’s the image of Emmy saying, “When I have a baby, you will be the grandma, right?” as Charlotte has reasoned before.
And then there’s the question that I’m left with every time this image passes through my mind: What do I say when this image becomes a reality?
I don’t know the answer yet, but I know that I want Emmy to have all the limitless possibilities that I originally envisioned for her–before I knew about Williams syndrome. I want her to have choices, and I’m trying to figure out how to make that happen.