My wife Lisa and I found out on a Tuesday in the spring of 2005 that we were having a son with Down syndrome. I really had no idea about what was going on. All I know is that she called me crying and we had lunch at the Black Horse Inn in Mendham, NJ where she told me the news. We talked, she cried and I went back to work.
I’ll never forget the next Friday night. I was playing with my daughter Lauren in our living room (it’s frozen in my mind). The phone rang and I answered it. “Hello can I speak with Lisa?” “She’s not home, can I take a message?” “Can you tell her that Dr --- office called and her procedure is all set for Tuesday.” “Procedure… what procedure?” “She’ll know what this is in reference to.” I wasn’t sure what to do or think! Lisa came home and I told her about the call. She was shocked. She had no idea about what or why they had scheduled a procedure for her! That was our first week in the Down syndrome world. I’d love to tell you that it got better, but it didn’t.
We had the most horrific next five months of our lives. You see, we had decided that our baby boy was going to make his mark in this world. For us, there was never a question. But apparently, that wasn’t the case for a medical community that was completely insensitive to just how special this kid was going to be. So, for five months it was tough. But we got through it together. We were both determined to love this little boy no matter what.
On July 27, my little boy was born. We named him Matthew (gift from God). It wasn’t and isn’t easy, but he is an amazing little guy. Mattie is now approaching eight years old. He’s healthy. He’s happy. He’s handsome. He’s very smart! He doesn’t judge anyone… ever! Mattie is everything that I wished I could be in my life. I thought that we were going to teach him. Instead, I learn from him every day. He’s my hero! Parenthood in general is exhausting. My “typical” 11 year old daughter is just as exhausting as Mattie. The challenges are different, but at the end of the day, parenthood is just exhausting, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
- He’s responsible for no less than 10 million smiles.
- He may run for Mayor one day.
- He loves people for who they are in their hearts, not how they look.
- I truly believe Dennis the Menace was written about a kid with Down syndrome (Mattie).
- He’s my shadow. He’s my buddy!
- The kid just cracks me up (did I say… the kid is exhausting?)
- I wish his Grandma Rose was here. She’d be very proud of him! Every day with Mattie (and my daughter Lauren) is an adventure. We love them both exactly the way they are.