Behind These Eyes

I was scrolling through some pics for an upcoming presentation that I am doing and I came across this old pic of Hazel. It stopped me in my tracks and got me to thinking...again, just like it did the very first time I saw it.

You know those images that are just so powerful they pull you in? They provoke emotion? They make you really SEE? You question everything. It's like you thought you knew but you realize that you actually had no idea. Yes - these moments actually do exist. This pic right here was that moment for me so many months (years) ago when I first saw it. And even today when I look at it. Stops me dead. Every. Time.

The very first time I saw it on my camera, I was taken in. I realized that I had never really truly understood the beauty that was Hazel. Until the moment my eyes landed on hers in this pic. Even more than that, I don't think I fully respected the beauty that was Down syndrome. One glance at those eyes in this pic and I was frozen. I couldn't look away. I was completely drawn in. In that moment, something became so clear...I knew I had NOTHING TO FEAR. The purity before me seemed like such a gift more than it ever had before. I felt reassured, like she had this all under control.

These eyes are among the most BEAUTIFUL sights that I had ever seen. How on earth could anyone see these eyes and deny the beauty that they hold? How could a person see them and say that these eyes aren't capable? These eyes hold a clear vision of possibility. They tell the world, "I CAN."

When I look at the picture again today it makes me want to go back to my 34 week, pregnant self. THIS is the picture that I would show me. Along with these words...

This seems bad. I know. Like 'really-scary-crawl-in-bed-and-ugly-cry-for-days' bad. I get it. Feel it. Panic. It's OK! Now listen. 
Trust me when I tell you that this is going to be ok. You are going to get through it. You just don't know anything about these very intimidating words, "Down syndrome." I want you to look at these eyes. I mean really look. These eyes will teach you all you need to know. They are the most pure, wholesome and beautiful set of eyes that will ever exist. When you look at them you will feel ease and trust that something grand is about to begin. You will see Down syndrome and you will not be scared, you will be proud. You will see an exotic type of beauty that you could only dream of being a part of. These eyes are something you made. They are calling you, waking you and sparking something in you that you never knew was there. You will want to share this picture with the world and brag about your gorgeous, perfect daughter just like you thought you would. These eyes will look at you, take you in and love you. Down syndrome will become something that only exists behind these eyes. Everything else about your baby will come first.
You will feel PEACE, I promise.
You will feel LOVE, I guarantee.
You will QUESTION the future, I understand. 
You will be beside yourself at the beauty that is Down syndrome, I can't wait!!!

This is what I have to say to my past self today, which may not be the same as what I would have said yesterday, a month ago, a year. It might not even be what I would say tomorrow or a year from now? I think that's part of what really intrigues me about the evolution of the Down syndrome journey. It's always moving, changing, growing and mostly, pulling you in.