Those eyes

We were on our way to Virginia and our rowdy crowd was hungry. Eleven year old Zoe, nine year old Marley, five and a half year old Mia. Joe and I had been married a little over a year and had discovered with great delight that we were pregnant. Everyone was so excited to begin our new journey as a family of six. Chic-fil-a in Salisbury, Maryland was a favorite. We scrambled out of our mini van that we recently acquired to fit the growing family, and headed in. I grabbed seats while Joe and the kids, clamored to order.

That’s when I saw her. A little girl, no more than six months old sitting in her high chair, while her Mama fed her. She had a wisp of a whale spout, olive skin, but it was her eyes that captivated me. I couldn’t stop staring. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. My unabashed stare must have made her mother a little uncomfortable, she hesitantly smiled at me. I asked how old she was and made the appropriate chit chat, but inside me, my heart was expanding in ways that I could literally feel.

The kids came to the table with trays of food, loud conversations, and arguments over who got the last nugget, but it was the little girl who captivated my attention. This wonder, who I couldn’t tear my gaze or my heart from, had Down Syndrome. I watched every move she made, listened to every coo and interaction between her and her mother. Talk about stalker!

Soon after we left and continued our journey. For the next five months of my pregnancy I would think about the baby almost daily. Meanwhile, my stomach, grew as did the anticipation of our new addition. We found out we were having a boy, and the name searching began. Malia suggested Butterstick and Blackie, and was very disappointed when we told her we wouldn’t be choosing those names. Joseph, like his dad? No, not a junior. Jude? Joel? There always seemed to be someone who knew someone by that name and it drew a bad memory. As the due date neared, I went to the doctor who told me because of my age, 38, we would have to do an amniocentesis.

Joe and I of course refused, deciding before I got pregnant, that no matter the outcome, this baby was a gift to us and we would receive him regardless. Since we wouldn’t agree to testing, we were required to leave the practice. We soon found ourselves at a midwife’s office in Wilmington, streets away from the hospital I was born in. We agreed that Joe, the kids, my mom and Grandma Kate would all be present at the birth. The months ticked by and finally a name was agreed upon. Noah Jonathan McGinnis.

Noah, not from the Bible actually, although that’s a wonderful namesake. It was actually the main character’s name from the read aloud we were sharing as a family each night. Flushed, by Carl Hiaasen. Noah Underwood, his last name also being the street our farm was located on. Coincidence? I think not. Jonathon, after Joe’s grandfather, John, whom he adored.

Name, check. Midwife, check. Due date October 8, 2006, check. Nursery, check. But there was no-escaping what the Lord had in store for us next.

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