Mia: Shaken Not Stirred


The true life stories of a NYC female.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Nadine

My mother's face was hidden by the camera and Nadine started leaning over in an attempt to see my mom's face.


Have you ever loved someone so much your heart cannot remember how it was before this person came into your life? If you have ever experienced this then you know how I feel about my cousin Nadine. Words can never adequately express the love I feel for this child or the joy she has brought our family. I can be in the midst of the crappiest day and just the thought of her makes me smile. She seems to have this effect on everyone that meets her, they fall under her spell instantly.

She is a playful and shy baby if she doesn’t know you she hides her face when first meeting you. If she recognizes you she does her monster impression opening her mouth and eyes real wide and going “grrrr grrrr”, and will clap her hands when she is done. However if you fall into her favorite people category she will stick her tongue out at you or squinch up her nose at you.

Nadine is my uncle Chino’s only child and next saturday she will be one years old. Several hours after Nadine was born my mother got a call from my uncle and his wife; something was wrong with the baby. The doctors had told them that Nadine was born with Downs Syndrome. You would've thought they'd be devastated but they weren't. They were grateful to have her. My mom having worked with special kids all her life explained to us all what laid ahead for Nadine and how we could help her learn and progress through every day activities. She is my mother's first biological niece and the star of the family. The other day my mom let out a big whoop because Nadine's team of therapists informed us that Nadine is a lefty like my mom. "You know that means she will be artistic!" said my mother an artist and she immeadiately set about planning some art lessons for Nadine whom she refers to as The Bean.

The day that Nadine and my mom first laid eyes on each other was amazing. The family was excited knowing that the gift of a song would be made on that day and everyone was curious as to what Nadine's song would be. The gift of a song is a tradition started by my mom when she was 13 and big sister to a brand new baby boy, Nadine's father as a matter of fact. His song is "Cu cu ru cu cu Paloma" which to this day he sings Mariachi style. My mom always dedicates a song to the newborns of the family and sings it to them when they first meet. The song is their song for the rest of their life; my mom will sing it to them as a lullaby whenever she babysits them and beyond. Not one of my cousins has forgotten their song…even as adults. I don’t know how much thought goes into my mom picking the song but for some reason it always tends to fit our personalities.

On the day the met Nadine and mom both stared at each other. Nadine seemed to be studying my mothers face intently. It was funny though because even with Nadine’s Down Syndrome you can still see traces of my mother in her face. My mom sat with Nadine massaging her for about 30 minutes, talking to her softly and Nadine seemed to be talking back. When my mother finally gave her back to her mother Nadine started to cry. My mom started singing The Rainbow Connection by Kermit The Frog…and Nadine was silenced. Somehow the song fit…it was perfect, it was Nadine’s song. By the time my mom had finished the song we were all in tears.


Nadine had been sick for the past several weeks but today she was well enough to come over for a visit. The minute she saw my mother the child lost her freaking marbles. Her facial expressions alternated between monster impression and squinched nosed...she kept bouncng up and down whenever my mom came near her. Actually come to think of it my mom was acting the same way! When mom started singing her song Nadine was mesmerized and started “singing” along when my mom finished the song Nadine clapped her hands and said, "yaaahhh” which we took to mean yay! I sat back watching her thinking how lucky we were to have this baby sent to us…I’m looking forward to a lifetime of knowing her , loving her and most of all being loved by her.

(After my mom finished singing to her)



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