Thursday, October 30, 2008

Notes From the Deep End, by Jennifer Enderlin Blougouras

When Nichole was only two weeks old and we took her to Mayo hospital. Andy and I decided to go to Barnes n Noble and buy anything we could get our hands on to learn more about Down syndrome. There were not many choice, but one book caught Andy's eye. He picked it up, read the back, and handed it to me. I think his comment was, "I think you will want to read this book."

The book is GIFTS: Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives.
I read the back of the book, and there, in the middle of the book aisle, tears started streaming down my face. Yes, it was a book I needed to read. I opened to the first page, and the phrase "Your life will have flashes of color you never knew possible," has stuck with me ever since. I now live it, I now know it is true.

These women offered words I needed to hear. I devoured the book, it became a life line. Then I got to a story, about a little boy named Nicholas. Maybe the story got to me so because of the name similarity. But I think it was more. As I read the story, I felt like I was reading my own thoughts, my own feelings. And then Jeniffer did something more for me, she gave me dreams!!!!

I asked for her permission to write some of her story here. Enjoy it! Jennifer is a great writer. God used her story to speak to my heart, and for that, I am grateful.

I have omitted sections of her story (like her intro), only because I am sharing the parts that apply to me personally, so if you see (...) it means there is more. So buy the book to read it all, and that way you help support Down syndrome research (all profit is given to this cause).

Notes From the Deep End
by Jennifer Enderlin Blougouras

...So picture this: Parenthood, to me, was like a giant swimming pool. I saw other people in the pool and they looked okay...

Other parents said to me, "Going into the pool can be really scary. But it is all worth it."
I thought to myself, If they can do it, so can I. And, tentatively, I put my foot in the water.

Suddenly, someone grabbed me form behind and threw me in the deep end of the pool. In the deep end! How unfair!...Throw another person in the deep end...!...

How did this happen? Who did this to me? Gagging and coughing and chocking and sputtering, I railed against the shock of the cold water, the unfairness of it all. My head went under and panic set in. I am going to die, I thought. But instinct kicked in and clumsily, I moved my arms and legs. And I did not drown.

Now I was treading water. After a few big breaths I looked around and noticed there were other people in the deep end with me, and they were offering to help. But I didn't want to be in their Deep End Club. And besides, I didn't think I even belonged here. It was only a matter of time before someone told me it was all a mistake and I'd be pulled out of the pool to safety. I should have left well enough alone. I should never have tried to go into the pool, I thought. But since nobody came to my rescue, I continued to tread water. And I did not drown.

Soon I started to float. My panic subsided. I knew I could survive, although it surely wouldn't be pleasant being stuck at this end of the pool. I was able to rest for short periods, suspended on the surface of the water. I felt pretty much alone. Yet, I did not drown.

The I noticed that there was a little boy in the deep end with me, a little boy named Nicholas with eyes that crinkle up like half moons when he smiles. A little boy named Nicholas who loves Bruce Springsteen and Puccini's La Boheme and 1940 Big Band Music. And Nicholas could swim.

Looking at him, I realized that someday, I might be able to do more than float. I might be able to swim. And I might even enjoy it. Perhaps I'd even love it.

As I watched Nicholas I discovered that the deep end allows for underwater somersaults, and in the deep end, it's possible to dive. You can't do that in the shallow end. And I realized that perhaps someday, with Nicholas at my side, we'd both wave to the parents at the shallow end of the pool and say, "You don't know what you are missing, here in the deep end."

1 comment:

  1. I like that story. Man, I haven't checked your blog in way too long!


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