Friday, April 11, 2008
Road Map to Holland by Jennifer Graf Groneberg
"He's the child that I wanted, that I did not know I wanted."
-from Road Map to Holland
I have been lurking on many DS blogs for awhile now. I started my own back in September and then fell off the face of the Earth! However, I have been inspired to start posting again because of Jennifer Graf Groneberg's new book Road Map to Holland. I knew Jennifer was writing it because I had been a frequent visitor to her blog http://jennifergrafgroneberg.wordpress.com/
I ordered her book at amazon.com last week and just finished reading it. First, I want to thank Jennifer for writing it. My daughter Sophia is almost 8 and those early years seem like a lifetime ago. As I read about her delivery of Avery and Bennett and the ensuing first few months , I was catapulted back in time to Sophia's early years. This time, however, I was able to enjoy and savor the memories. That's the great thing about memories, all of the negativity and unease kind of settles to the bottom like sediment and all the best parts rise to the surface. I also want to congratulate her on an amazing book. I am impressed that she had the wherewithal to journal or somehow record the first 2 years of their life. This is a true testament to the fact that her story needed to be told.
I have to make mention of the cover. To say a picture speaks a thousand words...........the sheer joy, the giving and receiving of love, the wordless exchange of how much Jennifer and Avery rely on each other. I smiled when I first saw it because I know that unidentifiable emotion on Jennifer's face. I have lived it and felt it. It is joy, love, bliss, warmth, pride, tears, pain, disappointment, accomplishment, worry, anxiety, disbelief, awe-all rolled into one perfect moment in time. I LOVE THOSE MOMENTS!
Road Map to Holland chronicles the first 2 years after the birth of Jennifer's fraternal twin sons Avery and Bennett, along with her other son Carter and her husband Tom. Unbeknownst to Jennifer and Tom, Avery is born with Down syndrome. She truly gives the reader insight into what many couples go through when they are first told about the diagnosis. Her descriptions are so vivid and accurate, I could actually smell the NICU where my daughter spent 5 days and remembered one of the nurses (also Jennifer!) who told me I had an "angel" long before the neonatologist mentioned anything to me about DS. I have to say I felt like I was right along side Jennifer-cooking, at therapy, napping, grocery shopping, learning, hoping, realizing, growing. Just doing the "normal" things. And I guess that is the whole point-we lead very ordinary lives. Make that EXTRAordinary. Pick up the book if you're a mom, have a mom, or know a mom. If you are a mom expecting a baby with Down syndrome, throw away all those black and white statistics the doctor gave you and instead read a true account of the realities of being touched by Down syndrome. And to Jennifer, if I told you the best is yet to come, would you believe me? My cup runneth over. I continue to be amazed and inspired by both of my daughters. And while I don't "see" Down syndrome anymore, I can't help but feel it is my family's greatest gift.