Dear Tessa: Stepping Stones

Dear Tessa,

We are accustomed to welcoming adversity into our lives; much on your behalf.  But you always do it with so much grace, as though you were expecting these moments in your life while the rest of are taken by surprise.  That’s just how you roll.

Today is the day.  One year ago today.  Do you remember?  I wish I knew if you did.  I think about that all of the time.  Does she recall any of it? 

One year ago today, we woke up in Room 4121 at the hospital–the room where you were first admitted many months before when we found out you had leukemia.  It was a beautiful Saturday morning. The sun was finally shining after a week of dreary overcast.  It was there on that very day when your inpatient fight against leukemia ended (full-circle) in that room when your doctor told us you were finally well enough to go home.

The bubbles and tears fell all over the hallway as you made your final walk to the door.  Joyful hugs and sentimental goodbyes followed you on the way out.  No longer would you be a prisoner to any machine. No more chemo.  No more pulse ox.  No more midnight labs.  No more painful cries from the neighboring hospital walls.  No more suffering. The time had come. It was over. You did it girlfriend.  You really, really did it.  We waited so long for that day.

Most of your life has been paralleled by statistics, starting from birth.  After a while I paid little attention to statistics regarding your extra chromosome.  Eventually in your cancer treatment, I had to do the same.  What good is it to worry about numbers that can change in an instant?  That was a process I learned in time.  Sure those numbers can build you up, but they can rip you down just as easy. If I could have had a glimpse of your life up until that point prior to you being born, what would have those odds looked like on paper? Probably not great.  But look at you.  You break the rules and push the limits, proving that you are far more than any statistic that tries to overshadow you. You are fearless and amazing.

And darling, the odds are ever in your favor.  (In my best Effie Trinket voice).

Tessa Carey 027.jpg

Because of you I know that anything is possible.  Together we can dream of dreams that others may shy away from.  We plant roots where we want them planted and make our own stepping stones for any path we travel.  Certainly we have no idea where we are going, hopefully miles from ordinary.  It all seems normal and adventurous. Because of you I see the world so differently. And I know that others do too.

When you were born, I remember wrapping you in my arms and holding you for days; terrified that I may fail you.  Scared because I knew nothing about Down syndrome.  Scared because I knew nothing about being a mom.  I let you take the lead and here we are now today, far from failing.


Last night we gathered our families and friends at home and celebrated the many facets of you and all that you have overcome in three years; toasting love, life and miracles.

Tessa mom

Today on World Down Syndrome Day, we celebrate the same.

Do me one favor–a huge favor.  Never, ever, ever, ever stop believing in yourself.  There is nothing in this world that you cannot do.

Love, Mom.

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