My new memoir, A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny is out in stores now. I've been rereading it myself and revisiting many of the themes in the book. In the beginning of each chapter of the book, I share an excerpt from the journal I kept at the time all this was happening. In several of the journal entries I share my hopes and fears about Penny and Down syndrome. Here's an excerpt from a journal entry in December of 2006:
. . . Struck by how much hope I have for Penny–that she will live a full life with friends and laughter and arguments with her siblings and an ability to give back to her community and a knowledge of God's love. Hope that she will go to public school and that her heart will heal and that she will speak clearly and read and write and walk and run and dance . . .
And with that hope comes intense fear that little of it will come to pass, that she will suffer, be mocked, that her little body will betray her. Fear that she won't succeed, or that she won't have friends, or that we won't be able to give her what she needs. Fear that Down syndrome is what I thought it was a year ago. Fear that our culture is right, that she is undesirable, that an extra chromosome is a mistake. I don't want to hope, sometimes, because I don't want the fear that accompanies the hope . . .
As the book progresses through Penny's first two years of life, her love and spirit transform me. Watching her grow up, and continuing to hope for her freed me from so many of my fears (and I am reminding myself of how many fears were unfounded as she goes to kindergarten for the first time TODAY–check back in tomorrow for a report!). I know not all of you have children with Down syndrome, but all parents have their own set of hopes and fears for their kids.
I'd love to hear about your experience! Please share your thoughts, and share this question with friends. At the end of the week, I'll select one person who comments to receive a free copy of A Good and Perfect Gift.
How have your kids changed/challenged/determined what you hope for? What you fear?
Update: Tricia Tice is the winner of this book giveaway. Thanks to all who participated!