In the Eye of the Beholder

In the Eye of the Beholder: a celebration of a year

“…no eye has ever seen any God but you doing such deeds for those who wait for him…”
Isaiah 64: 3

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She’s so beautiful.

I have to be honest and admit that I have always, always been uncomfortable around people with disabilities. Afraid of their differences. For certain, I have never, ever thought of a person with a disability as beautiful. Clearly, this is one of the reasons God gave her to me.

And yet, as hard as I try—when I look at the folded ears, the wide, round eyes, the cute little tongue tip protruding—all the telltale signs that made the doctors suspect Down Syndrome at the moment of her birth… Well, I can’t see it. I have never really been able to see it.

But everybody else can see it. She and I stopped at a garage sale on Saturday (yes, in January), and the man came hurrying over to us and pressed an angel votive holder into her hands, telling me a story about a young man with DS that he helped to shave.

This is what I find really odd. I always thought I was pretty objective about things. I was and am, after all, able to admit that Julianna was not a pretty newborn AT ALL. And I really try hard to see the Down syndrome in her face—identify it, I mean, the way other people seem to be able to identify it in a glance.

But I can’t. She’s just…so…beautiful.

One of the benefits, and crosses, of having a child who’s significantly delayed is that we get an extended babyhood. She’s five days shy of a year old, and she’s more like a seven- to nine-month-old. At night when I nurse her to sleep, with her little fingers grasping my shirt, or my skin, and her feet pressing against my arm or my torso, I’m frequently overcome. That wild, fine hair, so impossible to control. The long, long eyelashes. The adorable, chewable cheeks. That little nose, that goofy grin! The length of her! Oh, my gosh, she’s so beautiful! And I thought Alex was the most beautiful baby in the world.

I mean, seriously. I know you all think you have the most beautiful children, but…I’m sorry, it’s just impossible. The world’s two most beautiful children both live under my roof. And how did I rate such a blessing?

She’s so beautiful. And she’s been with us almost a year. It’s been rough, and I wouldn’t have chosen it, and I wouldn’t choose it now, given the choice, but I also wouldn’t trade it. Not for anything.

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