Although rhetorical my question is not facetious.
Where is the little baby I carried for 35 1/2 weeks?
The baby who spent a week in the NICU after birth?
The baby who challenged our expectations and then delivered?
Her father's hiking buddy?
And the little girl who won her grandfather's heart at birth and was her closest ally until his death in 2001?
And although the question is rhetorical, I am just not ready for the truth. From the time Alex was a baby until she graduated from high school I knew everything about Alex. In her early school years I had constant contact with her teachers, and although this decreased over the years I still would speak weekly with her case managers. When she participated in school plays or sports I was kept in the loop and even when she went to the Prom I got reports back from other parents.
This past week I heard nothing from, or about Alex (two very brief check-ins and a missed call). She did not respond to my texts or my FB note. I was not ready for this, and I missed my baby more than I expected. It hit me hard when I realized that this baby does not really need me anymore.
It's ironic, we spent so many years and so much energy advocating for Alex's future and I am not ready to give it up yet. Alex is so capable and responsible but I still have trouble seeing past the down syndrome. Down syndrome has been such a part of me and who we are as a family that I cherish it. I love down syndrome, I love who we are and I love my daughter beyond words. And I love that Alex will still need our guidance as she lives her own future.