It’s not in the least like the show Cougar Town. I walked out of our front door this morning with T. in my arms. I thought I looked good in my dark rinsed cropped jeans, slim cut safari-esque belted jacket and cat eye black sunglasses. The Dansko clogs probably would have gotten me bitch slapped on What Not To Wear but I hadn’t painted my toes nails – so no open toe shoe. As I was walking across the street a man about my age passed by and asked, “Are you the grandmother?” Without a beat I said, “No, I am the old mother.” He laughed, I laughed and T. laughed. I can afford to laugh about this stuff now.
I turned 50 this past December. Girls, if you don’t want 50 to bother you, adopt a toddler (beat) with Down syndrome. Having a husband 13 years younger than you should do it but I lie about his age so most people think he is a super young looking 40 something. Fifty seems like a breeze when you have a Down syndrome toddler. You’re not fixated on looking old. Instead, you’re fixated on the fact that you can never die. I wake up in the middle of the night worried about how to make enough money so I am not eating cat food at 75 and T. has a trust fund. I know that I will be working in my 70s and the reality is you will be too. Remember that tanked economy?
My husband doesn’t worry about these kinds of things. I do however try to torment him with my worries and impress upon him how important worrying is. This just makes him mad. It’s probably futile for me to try to instill worrying in him but I worry if I stop…you get the idea. Worry is my wheelhouse.
I try to balance worry with the present – with the everyday experiences of parenthood. I try to be like our son. He lives in the moment. That moment might be happy, exciting, frightening or angry and then there is the next moment. He is my role model.
Age is probably the most well known “risk factor” of giving birth to a child with Down syndrome. People put one and one together and they end up with the wrong answer. I have gotten that look from strangers at Target – a mix of surprise and then a lot of smiling. And more smiling. Enough with the smiling already. I have also had people say, “You two have the same smile.” Or “I see where you get your blond hair”, to which I like to say “His is fake.” Funny stuff. The fact someone thinks I could have been part of the equation that created this beautiful boy – and he is by any standard beautiful – makes me feel right.