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When I look at my son, the first question that comes to my mind is, “how time has flown so fast?” Where is that little baby who would hide from the world, snuggled into my chest?

Sometimes I find his teddy bears and hold them tight to my heart, thinking of the times when they were his best friends. I still treasure the little shoes that helped him to take his first steps and the remnants of a blanket that helped soothed him to sleep. I’m living the adventure of motherhood, watching him grow up. My son is becoming a young man.

On April 29, 2014 Emir will be 10 years old. For some weird reason, I thought he would never grow up. I thought it would take 20 or more years for him to become a man, but to my surprise, some things are already changing! His voice sounds deeper and his demeanor seems stronger and more masculine. This is the child I was so worried for; the shy guy who would not make eye contact with anyone other than his mother. Now he’s the complainer, the grumpy one, and the young man who leads me all the way to his favorite store or restaurant. Of course, he will forever be my baby, but I cannot deny that he’s the most noble and understanding human being I’ve ever known.

White skin and blond hair, I still remember the days when his paleness didn’t allow his eyelashes to be seen. Now I can even see hair on his legs. He’s strong, manly, and athletic.

All his interests have suddenly changed. Now, he enjoys video games and talks to me about candy crash and sports resorts. Often, I don’t understand what he’s talking about, not because of his speech challenges, but because of my lack of knowledge. I don’t belong to this era, he seems very technologically advanced to me, with a mind and interests all his own.

He doesn’t call me “mommy” anymore, his new word for me is “mother.” He opens the fridge to remind me of the missing things I must pick up at the market for him. He also gives me directions to direct me when I’m driving. He chooses the food he would like to eat for meals and snacks, and is finally faster than me to find the “buy one get one free” specially when it happens to be chocolate cereal that’s on sale.

I can’t help but feel proud of him and how he’s grown.

And then I go back to the same question again. Where have all these years gone?

I know the memories are engraved in my heart, and if I take the time, I can remember each one of them. But it seems to have gone so fast. He’s the love of my life, the one who doesn’t fear anything and always can do whatever it is he sets his mind to.

He’s funny, and even popular! He loves wearing funny hats and dark glasses. Wearing matching shirts and shorts is a must in his life. He’s my son, after all.

Many who are just learning that their new child has Down syndrome may be living the same first day I went through with my son, bombarded with the depressing statistics of being born with an extra chromosome. We were exactly there 10 years ago and I can feel it like it was yesterday.

Today, however, this is who I am: a proud and happy parent, anxious to keep seeing him grow up on his path to become a young man. And while time has surely flown by, it’s been an incredible decade.

Eliana Tardio



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