I learned something really incredible over the past three weeks. I am so in love with this kid.
I used to think it was weird when people said they were in love with their kids. It seemed like a strange turn of phrase. I used to think that we are in love with our spouses or partners — but we love our kids.
I found out what it meant to be in love with my oldest child when Charlotte turned 1 year old. That’s when I felt it for the first time. She turned from a little baby into my little buddy. She was fun to interact with, and I saw her personality start to emerge. I remember taking pictures of her eating blueberries outside on the grass. She put a play phone up to her ear — upside down. And, as I snapped away, I thought, “Wow, this is it. I am in love.” I finally understood what that phrase meant.
With Emmy, the road has been different. I was overwhelmed with a lot of information early on that scared me. She was only 5 weeks old when I found out that she has Williams syndrome, and I was really intimidated by what that meant for her future and ours. And then there was a lot of work to do. We had to arrange doctors and call physical therapists and organize medical bills. There was a lot of stuff getting in the way of my connection with my daughter.
These past three weeks have changed everything. When her heart stopped beating and the doctors were trying to save her, all of the other stuff disappeared. I was so purely connected to my daughter, and I wasn’t even in the same room as her. I couldn’t even see her. The doctors and nurses were inside her room, trying to save her life. And I was in the hallway, kneeling on the floor and sobbing.
But the other thing I was doing was talking to her. I named all of her favorite toys and activities. I named family members. I named friends. I begged, “Come back. Come back to me.” There must’ve been twenty people between us and around us, but I felt as though it were only the two of us. That connection, that bond, was so strong and so pure.
As special needs parents, and parents in general, we have many hurdles to overcome and struggles to deal with. Over the past two years, I felt that stuff getting in the way of a pure connection to my child. It felt like baggage, and it was heavy.
Being in this position with Emmy made me realize that I need to focus on keeping a pure connection to her. Yes, she has special needs. And it is important for me to help nurture those needs. I actually love that she has Williams syndrome. The diagnosis has brought many, many wonderful qualities with it. And I love so many of the people I’ve met that Emmy has brought into my life — caring doctors, incredible nurses, excellent therapists, sweet teachers; supportive friends. I would never have met them otherwise.
But, at the end of the day, when I tuck her in at night, the only thing that matters is that Emmy is my daughter and I’m her mom. And that connection is so very strong and pure.
I am absolutely, head-over-heels in love with her.