July 25 2023
Monday Night Poetry last night was so deeply moving. I am captivated and inspired by these beautiful people. I hugged, I laughed, I smiled, and I cried. That’s some amazing poetry (and people) that does that to you.
Since July is Pride Disability Month, I read the 2019 poem I wrote to Lillian when she turned 18 years old. Then I read some of Lillian’s poetry and I read a poem written by our 18p- friend, Hannah Belsterling from Oregon, titled Different Type of Heroes.
The Number 18
Today is your 18th Birthday.
Lillian Paige Darnell is 18 years old today.
I can still see you in my mind’s eye
as a wee 4 pound sweetheart
as I wondered and dreamed
about your journey to adulthood.
Wow! Did we take giant
twists and turns,
paths less traveled.
Little did I know as I snuggled
you close, sang to you (sorry about that),
and read, read, read to you;
that the number 18 would come
to be a powerful number for you,
for us, in more ways than we could imagine.
When you were 3 years old,
As we sat eating dinner,
As the phone rang,
As the pediatrician delivered
news – 18p-, she said,
missing the short arm of
chromosome 18, she said –
that rendered me speechless,
with tears sliding down my face
into a dinner I could no longer eat.
Little did I know at the time
that this was not the horrible
news I assumed it to be.
Oh, yes. Life changing, for sure.
Yet, not in the way my mind
led me to believe in those first few weeks.
There is no way on this Earth
I could have foreseen how
life changing this would be for me.
Life changing for me so as to
let you be who you came here to be.
For that to happen unconditionally
and organically, I had much learning to do.
Not just learning about genetics,
and the effects of deletions of genes.
That was the small stuff compared to
the enormity of the path that lie ahead.
As you step into adulthood on this day
It is my deepest hope that
I have made more decisions for
the highest good, than not.
It is my deepest hope that the times when I have
remembered to share and be unconditional love
stand out and far outweigh the times when
I have not been at my best.
May the wishes you wish come true.
May the dreams you dream become reality.
May the sunshine light your way ever more.
May the moon teach you its secrets.
May the birdsong always sing sweet melodies to your heart.
May you step into adulthood
with iridescent rose gold fairy
wings of the highest and brightest
as you take flight on the next
greatest adventure of your life.
I love you
I honor you
I respect you
I am grateful for all that you
have taught and continue to teach me.
You are You
And You Are Perfect!
Mom – ©Camilla Downs
Group photo & photos of poets by: @mondaynightpoetrynv