by Tina McGrevy, SMS Parent
Published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms
2011 Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC

"He's the same baby he was this morning," our pediatrician told me as I held you tighter than tight. "Your son was born with Smith-Magenis Syndrome," he continued as he looked over the lab results. His voice sounded far away as I heard the words "mental retardation" and "autistic behaviors."

No! I wanted to scream. That’s not my baby. This morning, he was so smart. He was going to wave at me from the kindergarten bus and ignore me from the middle school bus stop. He was going to be the high school valedictorian. He was going to graduate from medical school some day.

"He's the same baby he was last Sunday," our preacher told me as I rocked you in the pew. "You are just learning about your son, but God has known him all along."

You're wrong! I wanted to shout. That's not my baby. Last Sunday, he was so pleasant. He was going to be an alter boy and light the candles. He was going to lead the youth group on mission trips. He was going to graduate from the seminary some day.

"He's the same baby he was last year," our family told me as I blew out your two candles. "He still has your eyes and Daddy's smile."

That's not true! I wanted to cry. That's not my baby. Last year, he was so strong and beautiful. He was going to be a star athlete and the most popular boy. He was going to marry a girl just like me some day.

"He's the same baby we brought home from the hospital," your daddy told me as I lay you down in your crib. But this is not what I had dreamed for you.

You are my baby boy, but I will never lose my voice from cheering at your Little League games. Instead, I will shout when you learn how to walk without your leg braces. You are my child, but you will never be the class president. Instead, you will have fewer friends, but they will all be true friends. You are my firstborn, but I will never drive away from your dorm room with tears in my eyes. Instead, I will be sobbing when it takes you an hour to leave Children's Hospital because you must hug every child in a wheelchair. You are my son, but you will never be the father of my grandchildren. Instead, you will be their favorite uncle who still believes in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

It seems everyone was right. You are the same baby. But I am not the same mother.