Last night, the moon was the biggest, brightest and closest to the earth that it will be all year. I didn’t even know what a ‘supermoon’ was or that it was last night until I read a post on Facebook. I love the quote that was written too: “Tonight, the moon will turn into a full moon, and into the ‘supermoon’, lighting up the sky at its brightest, shining on us and encouraging us to expose ourselves, to take off our masks and face our fears…” Mimco (my favourite for handbags!)
Chloe and I spent the afternoon at home together while Andrew and Emma went to our nephew’s 18th birthday party. I was very sad to have missed it but Chloe has been unwell this week and the Dr advised us to keep her at home. After a quick bath, I bundled Chloe into the car just after sunset and drove around to look for a good spot to take a photo. While driving, I looked up and saw the moon and for a minute there, I was a bit disappointed. “Is that it?” I thought. I have seen the moon looking bigger and better than that before. Maybe you could see the supermoon over in the eastern states and not in Western Australia. I thought about going home but looked again and realised that maybe I shouldn’t have been so quick to judge. The moon was certainly not the biggest I have ever seen it, but it was definitely very bright so I continued on to find a good spot for a photo.
By the time I found a reasonable spot and stopped my car, the sky was dark and as I got my camera ready, I stared at the moon some more. Maybe I had misinterpreted the term ‘supermoon’. When I read about this supermoon, I imagined a giant, bright, heavenly form with the added illusion that you could almost reach out and touch it. This certainly wasn’t the case last night but that doesn’t mean that what I saw wasn’t a supermoon. As I took it all in, I saw how it actually lit up the sky with a wonderous light. I was once again reminded that it’s all about perspective.
I took a few shots and when I got home, I saw that the moon was right over our house.
I gazed at the bright moon before me and I remembered the day last week when I crumbled and became overwhelmed by thoughts of Down syndrome. Over the past couple of months, we have been struggling to get Chloe to eat solids. She is just not interested at all and spits out practically every mouthful no matter what I give her.
As I tipped yet another bowl of pureed fruit into the bin, my thoughts started to take control and I began to think about Chloe’s future and how some of her milestones will be a bit difficult and take longer for her to reach. I realise that she will do everything that she is supposed to – just in her own time so I know that I shouldn’t get upset about it. Overall, the time it takes for Chloe to reach her milestones is the least of our worries. And that is when I started thinking about all the other stuff. About potential illnesses and health issues in the future. About how she will manage at school. About her life as an adult. And I started to cry.
I have been so happy and most days, I actually forget that Chloe has Down syndrome. It has been ages since I have had any thoughts and feelings like these so they took me by surprise. But, as they took over, there was nothing I could do but let them consume me. So I sat down and cried. It was the kind of cry where you need to seek comfort so I got up and went into Chloe’s room and picked up my sleeping baby and sat with her in my arms. I sobbed as I thought about her life and how maybe I am still not completely used to this idea of Down syndrome just yet – even though I thought I was. As I looked through the hot tears that continued to well up in my eyes, I watched as my little Chloe opened her eyes to look at me and gave me the biggest smile. And then she called me “Dada” and I couldn’t help but laugh as I squeezed her and gave her a big kiss.
I know this grief will come and go – this is just how things are now. I am grateful that I don’t see it very often but when it’s there, I think it’s important that I acknowledge it and feel it. How can I heal when I haven’t allowed myself to feel all that pain and hurt? Grief can sometimes be so overwhelming that there’s no point in pretending that it’s not there.
But, life moves on and I have to move with it. And every time I move forward, the grief I have felt gives me the strength to keep going and to make things better. If I spend too much time dwelling on ‘what might happen’ in our life, I will miss all the blessings of today. As I have said before, we really are truly blessed with our beautiful, happy baby Chloe. Yes, she may be struggling with her solids right now but she will get there and in the meantime, there are so many things that she can do and this is where I need to focus my attention and celebrate!
The funny thing is, we don’t know for certain what is going to happen in our future and I find a lot of comfort in knowing this. Sure, the text books and websites I have read about Down syndrome have provided me with a lot of information about what can potentially happen, but I am also prepared (and excited) to be pleasantly surprised!
As I continued to look at the supermoon, I thought about Chloe and how her vocation in life will have its limits but when you put it all into perspective, there is so much more to life than all of that. Chloe’s chosen vocation will be insignificant in comparison to the person that she will become. She will never be a doctor or a lawyer or an accountant but I can say for sure that she will grow up to be a loving, caring, beautiful person who will have a great influence on all those who know and love her.
When I stopped to really look and appreciate the supermoon last night, I realised that it was all about how brightly it shone. And Chloe will grow and shine very brightly too. In her own beautiful way.