ONE HUNDRED NINETY NINE…our very own Wilford Brimly

Cecilia Rae Spranger

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Otherwise known as CC…

or…our little turtle, our own purple minion, strawberry-pickle-bottom, Wilford Brimley (cause her pajama pants can reach her chest), our very own rage against the (parental) machine, Boss, Ewok, my very own piece of grape bubble gum and our own personal lotto ticket. Being the baby of the family, she has assumed her role of polite dictator with as much ease as could be expected.

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I began writing this post at the beginning of October, knowing it was the month we celebrate Down Syndrome awareness. I put it down and like other things I write, vowed not to touch it until, not being able to stay away from it, became an option.

This afternoon I was putting our very own purple minion down for a nap. She cuddled up to me, put her little bent legs in the bend of my waist, laid her head on my arm, stuffed her chilly toes in the crevice between my hip and the band of my jeans, pulled the #3 blanket up to her ears, put her thumb in her mouth and stared at me until she couldn’t keep her eyes open anymore. Her perfect breath blasting me in the face with all its sweetness. Her right hand was draped around my chest. If there was such a thing as “perfection”for me this moment was the embodiment of it. I stared at her for what felt like hours trying to burn the curves of her nose and cheeks into my memory. I could stare at those almond-shaped, Brushfield laden eyes all day long.

If she would let me.

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Watching her sleep, I wandered through memory lane much like a car wanders around an old neighborhood…First I wandered down Tender Moment Avenue, to the time when she first put her little hand on my cheek, locked eyes with me and said in her own beautiful way, “I love you mommy.” Next it was left onto HCWAA (Holy Cow We Are agreeing) Boulevard, when we were walking up to the grocery store and she grabbed my hand all by herself. Followed by an immediate right onto Maturity Street where she began asking to walk at the grocery store rather than ride in the cart. I then came to an abrupt stop at Shock Avenue where she asked to go to the bathroom in the restaurant.

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These little milestones have yet to become apart of everyday life; when she walks in the grocery store with me, she still hightails it to a coveted item in the next aisle despite my loud protestations. In parking lots she doesn’t always want to hold my hand but she doesn’t necessarily run away from me anymore. And it is not yet apart of her everyday routine to ask for one of us to take her to the potty…meaning she will just go in her pants. But travelling through Memory Lane allows me to see how far we’ve come and what our future is going to look like.

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Travelling down Memory Lane also reminds me to stop wishing for tomorrow where we might have less potty accidents, struggles to listen in the grocery store, being safe in a parking lot. It reminds me to be present and live in the moment.

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I am feeling a lot of gratitude lately. I think it’s the upcoming holidays.Yes this past week was a little a lot on the sucky side, not having a whole lot to distract me, inevitably means I am taking that drive down that wonderful street. We will eventually get to our destination, but it always seems, once we get there, I want to be right back where we started. Trying to catch a glimpse, remember a moment, and feel the same feelings we felt when the struggles were real.

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My very own Wilford Brimly saunters out of the back bedroom with her hair all fuzzy on one side and eyes struggling to adjust to the light. And just like that we put our parking brake on at the top of Present Avenue. We are just going to be here for a while. It’s a beautiful street.

Happy Down Syndrome Awareness month!

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