Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome


on December 18, 2022

Our sweet little sunshine baby is nine today.  We have had NINE years of loving this most precious gift of a human.

Usually, the week leading up to Tessa’s birthday has me on an emotional rollercoaster. This year? No different. 😅 I like to blame it on the joyful chaos of the holiday season coupled with the ample opportunities that December provides to reflect on memories of the past. Probably a lot of it is just stress. 😬

A few weeks ago, we were sitting in a restaurant and I was telling John about a friend of a friend who just had a baby with Down syndrome. To our surprise, Tessa chimed in, “I have Down syndrome too!” She beamed. I was floored. I had never heard her speak those words or acknowledge her diagnosis in any way. It’s not like we have hidden this fact from her – quite the opposite actually. We never sat down and had “a talk” about it, but it comes up in conversation in the home on occasion (less frequently now than before). I just never realized that she was taking it in…

My own lesson in presuming competence.

As Tessa creeps closer to pre-teen years, she is delightfully enamored by the concept of romance. She loves to hear about why John and I love each other and demands that we kiss each other “on da wips” before I leave for work in the morning. When she plays, she makes up stories about boyfriends and princes and weddings in far-off places. We are buckling up for a wild ride.

She is our little introvert, often seeking the quiet comfort of her favorite spaces with people that she loves dearly.  She’s content to be on her own, reasonably happy when Lauren plays with her, and over the moon with joy when Ellie joins the fun.  She loves her people fiercely.  We love her that way, too.

Still our food fanatic, Tessa loves nothing more than to go to a restaurant for a cheeseburger and fries. She takes one bite of the burger, then requests a to-go box so that she can eat her meal at the kitchen table when we get home. She loves vanilla ice cream and Little Debbie Christmas Trees, pasta “wif dust” (parmesan cheese) and chocolate frosted donuts. She’s learned to read the buttons on the fridge so that she can make her own cups of ice water. We’ve learned to put all leftovers in the cabinets so they don’t become her 5 AM snack.

She calls Dad her “Big Man John” and I’m called by my first name rather than Mom. Her imaginary friends Evie, Anastasia, Rosita, and Kate come along with us for every adventure. She loves a good snuggle in the morning, a trip to Target in the afternoon, and all the episodes of Bluey in between. She prefers to wear dresses and big comfy t-shirts that she can pull over her knees while she sits on the floor. I want to bottle up every bit of her and store it away for a rainy day.

We adore every little nook and cranny of who she is.

Happiest of happy birthdays to you, sweet Tessa Lynn! WE LOVE YOU!


2 responses to “Nine

  1. Mary Wolodkiewicz says:

    She is a beauty ! Happy Birthday Tessa!

  2. Mark Langan says:

    Happy Birthday Tessa! What a beautiful message for all of us to enjoy.

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