My son was around 2 years old when I thought about the idea of becoming a mom for a second time. I talked to my husband about it, and he immediately agreed that it was the perfect time to become parents again. We talked about our fears and how we would face the possibility of having a second child with Down syndrome. After a long discussion, we decided to make a pledge of love and welcome her with no regrets with or without the extra chromosome. That was the moment when we decided to call her “Ayelén”; that means Joy in Hebrew.
I still remember the day I prayed to God asking for her. I said, “Please, send me a girl, the most wonderful and beautiful girl to my family and me. A perfect sister for Emir, and please don’t …” I was unable to complete the phrase. I wasn’t able to ask him to leave out the extra chromosome. How could I, after having understood with my son that God doesn’t make mistakes, and there’s no way to have a child who is less than perfect?
Her almond-shaped eyes surprised me the day she was born. I didn’t expect her like that, but at the same time, I couldn’t have ever imagined her different. She is the perfect daughter and sister that I asked for. She keeps surprising me with her strong will and determination to grow up and achieve every single goal. She ended up with all my prejudices. I guess that if she were never born, I would never have known that children with Down syndrome are not angels.
Throughout the years, she’s taught me that there is not recipe for being a parent, and sometimes, straight or reverse psychology doesn’t always work. I’ve learned that sometimes children come to our lives to cuff our moral arrogance, by demonstrating to us that no matter how much we plan, or how well-prepared we feel we are, our whole lives may be not enough to learn to be the parents we want to be.
She arrived to become a mirror to myself. Through it, I have gone backwards and have learned to be a little girl one more time. I’ve learned to enjoy life while I comb her hair, or while I read her princess stories. She has taught me to love unconditionally, for the second time.
Ayelén. God sent her just as requested. He created her perfectly. Many people say that perfection doesn’t exist, but we all speak from our own experiences. And what many people don’t know is that perfection is perfect in its imperfections, on tough days, and with each of its challenges. Perfection is the feeling of waking up one day to realize that we have all that we need to keep on going, and that nothing else matters.
Today, my love is turning 7 years old. Seven years of love, blessings and life. Seven years of Ayelén, seven years of JOY!