Chanukah Oh Chanukah

This year our family had a very special Chanukah celebration. At the end of May, Jo Jo and Teddy are getting a baby brother. We announced the news to our friends and family Tuesday evening.

I’ve been extremely nauseous and tired throughout this pregnancy, and the last few days have been worse than normal. As a result, this post is going to be extremely short. But I will say both Jamie and I secretly hoped for a boy. We talked about it before I had the CVS done—we agreed that we already had a girl and a boy, so whatever the third was would really just be the icing on the cake. Yet when we found out the sex, we each had to admit it: a little boy was exactly what we wanted.

When I’d learned I was getting a son the first time around, I freaked out a little. I never had brothers and was always pretty much a girly girl. I had no idea what to do with a boy, and besides, he was going to pee on me every time I changed his diaper. Well, for the record, peeing on me during diaper changes only occurred once, in Teddy’s first month of life, and it turns out little boys are amazing. They are cute and snugly and love their Mamas unconditionally. As for Jamie…well, let’s just say he’s thrilled to have another male around to teach how to heli-ski and ride motorcycles.

And as strange as it may sound, I’m glad Johanna will be my only girl. There’s always been something unique and wonderful about our relationship, not just because she has Down Syndrome but because she is my first born. I had seventeen months alone with her, and the time we spent together was very sweet. Scary and overwhelming at times, yes, as I came to terms with her diagnosis, but also quite lovely.

I thought about this as I rocked her before she went to sleep tonight. It’s one of our evening rituals. She presses her cheek against my chest and wraps her arms around me and I rest my chin on her head and breathe in the baby shampoo scent of her hair. During the day she’s wiggly and won’t let me hold her for more than an instant, but at night when she’s sleepy she’s very cuddly so we’ll stay like this for ten, sometimes fifteen minutes, just the two of us silently rocking.

Oftentimes when I think about Johanna’s future I think only about things that scare me, like possibilities of leukemia or Alzheimer’s or her living our her final days alone rotting in some group home without anyone to take care of her. But tonight, as we rocked, I thought of different things. Of hours spent just the two of us, playing dress up and dolls and hosting tea parties with her collection of stuffed animals. Going to the Nutcracker for the first time together. Visiting the American Girl store in New York City. Watching her perform in her first ballet recital. These are all things her brothers most likely won’t have much interest in, and things the two of us as mother and daughter can share.

It’s so very, very good.