I looked at my cell phone; it was 9:43 A.M.
My wife (Angi) and I were impatiently waiting in the recovery room to hear the status of our first born son. We knew something wasn’t quite right, as he was born a few hours earlier via emergency C-section, and now lay in the NICU under several devices.
Outside the recovery room, clogs and dress shoes stomped the hospital linoleum. A team of doctors, nurses, and case workers dressed in blue and white entered the room. Angi and I looked up with great concern.
“Mr. and Mrs. Busick, we regret to inform you- Your son, Jack Busick, was born with Trisomy 21 (also known as Down syndrome). He’s currently doing okay, but we will need to monitor him for some time. We will give you a minute before going over the plan.”
The medical team left the room.
Images of little league, basketball practice, camping, whitewater rafting, and father-son quality time flashed between tears and disappointment. Thoughts……dark thoughts ran through my mind. Thoughts that no parent should ever experience etched my deepest core. I was afraid…..I was crushed.
Here I was- a 27 year old young man with a beautiful wife, father-to-be, and bright future. As much as this hurts to put on paper (let alone acknowledge), part of me didn’t want to see him that morning. My All-American, white-picket-fence-family was crumbling before me and I couldn’t do anything about it. I felt cheated.
Fast forward 5+ years- The first word that comes to mind when I think of Jack is “Grateful.” Jack has introduced me to an entire new world of friends/community and opened doors I didn’t even know existed. Yes, having Ds comes with some extra struggles. However, quitting isn’t an option in our house and Jack reminds me of that every day when I see him work on a fine motor task (I take for granted), or slowly make his way up the stairs without help, or even battle cancer on a daily basis. His smile is infectious! Essentially, I’m grateful to have Jack as the sturdiest post in my White picket fence.
Some things in life we cannot control…. All we can do as parents is love them for who they are and guide with empathy. I’m not asking for you to give my son a free pass; all I ask is you give him a chance.
One Proud Dad