What 7 Looks Like

posted Friday May 21st, 2010

Check out my grown up girl!

“Let me take a picture to show everyone what a 7 year old looks like,” I said this morning, as we scurried to the car. I don’t recall ever seeing this expression — not for a photo, anyway. What happened to the 6 year old with the ear-to-ear grin? Clearly she’s been replaced with a mature little lady of 7, posing carefully for the camera.

 Last night, I wandered the aisles of Target looking for some last minute presents for Sophie to open after it was determined that Ray and I aren’t ready to make a choice on a Big Girl Bed (he insists on bunk beds; I’m balking on that, as well as the pet tarantula and snake) and we were left pretty much giftless. I felt the excitement well up in me as I imagined her opening various items and wrote a Facebook status update in my head:

I’m ALMOST as excited about Sophie’s birthday as Sophie is.

It was true. I was giddy, considering  just which water guns to buy (Ray’s idea, and I’ll admit, a good one) and I practically fell over when I found a stuffed Olivia the Pig.

Then I had kind of a weird thought.

I’m addicted to Sophie. It’s an odd thing to say about a person, but it’s true.

I look forward to the moment she bursts into our bedroom way too early each morning, I crave the touch of her soft cheek when she cuddles up against me. I relish the (too rare) days I sneak away from work to pick her up early from school; there’s nothing like the feeling when that unfiltered joy comes charging full-speed, when she sees me waiting. I love hearing her read out loud. 

Yes, she also drives me batshit. Annabelle and I roll our eyes behind Sophie’s back when she gives us a hard time. I have been known to yell. But little by little, I notice, Sophie’s better able to listen to reason. Or at least more willing to accept bribes. Hey, whatever works. Seriously, though, she’s emerging as her own little person. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not just this little ball of kid to cuddle, she’s got a lot more going for her than that. She surprises us every day.

But at the heart of that kid is, well, her heart. Always will be.

And I’m addicted to it. I’m addicted to Sophie. I’m addicted to love. The unplugged, unconditional kind.

It surprises me. That’s not me, that whole unconditional love thing. It’s not my schtick. I’m the one who never wants the one who wants me — I want the unattainable.

Scratch that. All I want is a hug from Sophie.

From Annabelle, too, OF COURSE from Annabelle, too, but my relationship with my older, “typical” daughter is both more and less and complicated. From the moment she was born, there were no “of courses” with Sophie. I never, ever would have expected to have fallen in love with a child with Down syndrome. Until Sophie, I didn’t even know what Down syndrome was.

Suddenly, it’s 7 years later, and even though my little “Down syndrome Box” of TV shows and books and other items has grown to fill two big Rubbermaid containers, the contents of which remain almost entirely untouched, today I know what Down syndrome is.

And I don’t know about the future, but I know what 7 looks like. It looks pretty darn good.

Happy Birthday, Dear Sophie.

And happy birthday to Girl in a Party Hat. I can’t believe it’s been two years. This blog — and you, dear readers — mean more to me than you can imagine.

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Tags: Filed under: Down syndrome, motherhood, Uncategorized by Amysilverman

16 Responses to “What 7 Looks Like”

  1. Happy birthday Sophie! As usual your blog brings tears to my eyes. I hope you continue!

  2. happy birthday sweet sophie!!
    we will see you tomorrow.

  3. Precious…just precious.

    May I add that THAT look Sophie has is the same look I have when I want cake.

    Happy birthday Sophie!

  4. Happy birthday Sophie who is my absolute favorite age; 7 is the age of enlightenment. And Thank you Amy for sharing with us this wonderful post.

  5. Happy Birthday to the little girl who opened your heart!!

  6. Amy- this post touched me so much. Because it was about me! And my daughter. I try to say it and it comes out all schmaltzy but you said it so well. I am a porcupine, hard to let go and feel joy and I always say how did such a loving, joyful and giving child come out of an old curmudgeon like me! I crave it, crawl into bed and hold it, love the little arm that curls around my neck in the morning. I hate to say it is in the genes but it sure feels built in!
    Happy Birthday Sophie- that look is full of a person who knows what life is all about- as well as a healthy bit of spunk!

  7. Amy-
    I can’t explain how much I loved this post. As you know, I absolutely adore Sophie and your entire family. I miss you all and it makes me so happy to see the girls grow up throgh your posts and pictures. I wish you all the best.

  8. Thankyouthankyouthankyou for offering me a slice of what the future might be like.

    I’m nearly 7 weeks in the world of having a child with DS and I’m having a hard time seeing the future without worry and fear. This is exactly what I needed to hear.

  9. I like the way you explained the addiction because I’ve got it too but never quite thought of it that way.

    7 is beautiful. Happy birthday Sophie! And Happy Sophie’s Birthday to you Amy ;-)

  10. happy birthday!

    this is (yet another) awesome post. So true.

  11. Can’t believe she’s 7!!!! Time sure does fly. Thanks for Sophie, the blog and our friendship. Happy Bday Sophie!!!! (and yes, we have to get the 8 of us together before you’re writing about birthday 15.

  12. i PROMISE it gets easier, i never would have believed it. easier and unimaginably awesome and yeah, not great at times.

  13. Amy,
    I “stumbled” across your blog today and it is amazing. I “remember” you, if you will, as I worked at SRP 18 years ago when your dad was named GM. I have followed your writing career and am now a new, huge fan (and hopefully friend) of your blog.

    You are truly blessed to have Sophie in your life! Enjoy all the unexpected, unpredictable moments.


  14. “Unfiltered Joy.” This is a perfect description.
    Oh, and you made me cry again.
    Our whole family sends love to you.

  15. Happy Birthday Beautiful Sophie!!! Her heart, has captured mine.

  16. Me: Look Cooper, here’s a little girl Sophie, and it’s her birthday.
    Cooper: How old is she?
    Me: She’s 7.
    Cooper: oooooh, she’s almost 8 like me. And she looks like me!!

    Happy Birthday Sophie! Good job mama, daddy and Annabelle!

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