A Poem for Joshua by Kelly Stone

In honor of World Down Syndrome Day

A Poem for Joshua by Kelly Stone
The task had been quite difficult,
But now my job was done.
Fatigued beyond description,
I watched my newborn son.
A mass of blonde clung damply
To your squawling little head.
“Ten toes, ten fingers, perfect,”
Is what the doctor said.
Months and months of waiting,
And here was my reward!
I marveled your perfection,
While someone cut the cord.
The doctor looked you over;
I saw his furrowed brow.
The nurses exchanged glances,
And they were frowning now.
The doctor turned to face us
With pity in his eyes.
His next words said quite gently,
Still took me by surprise.
“Folks, your baby just might have
An extra chromosome.
We probably should do some tests
Before you take him home.”

I glanced at you, still sticky,
My brand new baby boy,
And all I felt that moment
Was overwhelming joy.
The nurses were encouraging:
Suspicions could be wrong!
The tests would tell for certain;
They wouldn’t take too long.
I knew about Down syndrome.
I saw the signs in you.
I didn’t need a test to tell
What I already knew.

The tests confirmed suspicion,
And what do you suppose?
I barely even noticed,
Still admiring all your toes!
“Take time to grieve,” one nurse advised.
“This must be such a trial!”
“His hair’s so nice!” was my reply.
“I think I saw him smile!”
“Patient’s in denial,” she wrote.
“She thinks her baby’s fine.”
The nurse just didn’t understand
About this child of mine.

“Low muscle tone” . . . I think that means
You’re cuddly as can be!
None of my other babies
Have snuggled so with me.
“Developmentally delayed” . . .
That’s just a way to say
You’ll stay a baby longer
Than other babies stay.
“Special Education” isn’t
What I thought it’d be.
The things you’ve learned pale when compared
To things that YOU’VE taught ME!

Predictably, the years have passed
And you are almost four.
Delightful, charming, funny . . .
I couldn’t love you more!
Dancing with with your sisters,
Talking on the phone . . .
These past few years have been among
The best I’ve ever known.
You sing, you sign, you give bear hugs.
It’s never crossed your mind
To miss the things you might not do.
And, yes, my baby’s fine!

When we go out, it seems that people
Have to smile at you.
How can they help it, when you grin
At them the way you do?
In all the time you’ve been here,
I’ve never grieved a minute.
I can’t imagine any part of life
Without you in it.
I look at you, asleep at night,
When our day is done,
And don’t see any flaws at all;
Just my beloved son.