Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Before Olivia was conceived, I worried about how a younger sibling would affect Alyssa. She was my baby, she was my world. She was so perfect and wonderful and I felt selfish for wanting just one more little bit of perfection.

I worried that even if I did get one more speck of perfection, I wouldn’t be able to love that child as much as I love Alyssa.

Of course I was wrong. I was so wrong. Of course, like every parent of more than one child, I learned upon O’s birth that love isn’t finite. That is grows and consumes you and there is always, always room for more people in our hearts.

And I found out that perfection comes about in so many different ways. A geneticist might tell you that Olivia’s chromosomes are not perfect, but I disagree. She’s so perfectly Olivia. Just like Alyssa is so perfectly Alyssa.

I know how lucky I am. I know that having two healthy children is a blessing I cannot take for granted.

I also know that getting to sit and listen to Olivia describe her future is a blessing. The very fact that she speaks to us, in full sentences and even paragraphs defies all that doctors told us years ago. She runs, she does no-handed front somersaults. Seriously, she not only defies research into 5p- syndrome, she also defies gravity.

She asked me last weekend if she’d have big boobs when she’s a mom.

Yes, yes, she’s still semi-obsessed with boobs. She loves them. She no longer wants to touch mine all the time but she thinks about her own and wonders when they’re going to grow enough to warrant a daily bra.

I didn’t let the fact that doctors say she probably won’t be a mother stop me from answering her. “Yes, you’re boobs will probably get bigger when you are a mom.”

She grinned her toothy little kindergartener grin and announced that she was going to have two sets of twins, first a set of girls and then a set of boys. After I made the appropriately positive sounds at that idea, she changed her mind. She’s going to have two boys and a girl instead, with the girl being the older sister and the boys being the younger twins.

One of the first questions I asked our developmental pediatrician when she gave us O’s diagnosis was if she’d pass 5p- on to her kids. The doctor gave me one the only looks of pity this particular doctor ever gave me and said, “If she has children, she’ll have a fifty fifty chance of passing the syndrome on.”

I knew what she meant by both the words and the look. She meant that if Olivia is mentally capable of having children.

Olivia has a lot of dreams. She dreams of getting married, of having babies, of working with me in the same town so we can go to lunch together every day. Right now, she plans for her husband and children to just go ahead and live in the house in which we currently reside, with me and Tom possibly moving to the basement to make room for her and her family.

She’s seven years old. Chances are her dreams are going to grow and change and evolve over the years. And I’m going to help her make them come true. I am never, ever going to tell my daughter what she can’t do. I’m going to let her reach for those dreams and we’ll figure it all out together.

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