Primordial Soup, DNA, and BeautyPosted: August 24, 2013 Filed under: Down syndrome, emotional stuff, kids, parenting | Tags: Down syndrome, Family, genetics, God, Nature, Parenting 34 Comments
I grew, inside my mother’s body, from a single cell. In that time, I created all the eggs I’d ever have—my contribution to future children. We existed like that, three generations, nested together like Russian matryoshka dolls.
Before I left my mother, I left a little bit of myself in her body. My fetal DNA still lives in her and most likely will until the day she dies. Before my children left me, they left their DNA in my body, no matter how briefly they were with me. Children to mother, mother to child, cells pass. My children may even share some of their DNA with each other.
We go on, overlapping, coexisting, decade after decade in this way. Maternal lineage. Life from the primordial soup has spun an intricate web. Life breaks, rejoins, splits, and twists, year after year, generation after generation.
I spent some time tonight looking at old pictures of the Taters. I still had (and have) a mountain of things to do but couldn’t help myself after the first peek. I know that they’ll look back on these pictures as adults and ask me… What was it like back then?
It is easy for me to get caught up my daily struggles. The never ending cacophony, the endless needs, the repetition… Having children has been a constant tug-of-war between surrender and restraint, them and myself. Each moment flashes bright and hot, yet so ordinary on the whole.
And yet, in this tug-of-war, I realize, we aren’t actually separate beings. We never have been separate. We all exist together, permanently connected through our genetic code. Kindred.
So too, is the human family. We all share the same coding. The same coding that has been splitting, merging, twisting, rejoining for thousands of years. Whether by God’s hand, nature, random chance… However one chooses to see it, for me the beauty remains unchanged. Life is art, in the most fundamental way. Who am I to question it? Who am I to know what is right, correct, normal, or ideal?
When I think of things this way, 47 or 46 chromosomes seems so inconsequential, I almost laugh. Joyful laughter. There’s reality in the day to day, and I don’t know what the future holds, but I still feel like I’ve been let in on a fundamental Truth. We are all exactly as we should be, down to every single cell.
I might go watch my babies sleep for a bit now. I’ll resist snuggling them, because I won’t want to wake them, so I’ll just watch. Before I know it, they’ll be breaking away from me. It’ll be another exercise in surrender and restraint, as I wait for our lives to twist and rejoin, twist and rejoin, until the end.
I hope my children look back and see what I see now. Life is exactly as it should be.
You are such a gifted writer!
Thank you for this beautiful, touching, perfect post. You made this empty nest Mom cry.
Aw, thank you for your kind words. I dunno if this sounds odd, but I think often about being where you are. Right now it seems so far, but I also know it is going to happen in a blink so I find myself thinking about it a lot, it is going to be hard when my babies leave me!
Oh, my dear, I hope you don’t follow in my pitiful footsteps!! I cried the first time my first child had on real shoes (she was 6 months old….) thinking, “Now she can walk away from me!” LOL!!
Truly, I think that being aware of the fleeting nature of childhood helps us to be better, more patient moms. Hug those babies for me, will you?
Ha, I think I already have! You’re right though, it does help keep perspective during the daily parenting. I’ll hug mine and you can go stalk yours on Facebook. ;)
Man I want to hug those taters so bad! It’s hard to resist waking them to snuggle huh?! Beautifully written my friend!
So hard to resist! Thank you for the kind words. :)
So lovely and so true. xo
Thank you! <3
Very, very sweet.
Thank you! xo
That was a beautiful song you just sang….every note…just beautiful.
Thank you, mama! <3
Absolutely beautiful thoughts exquisitely expressed.
Thank you! <3
What an exquisite description of mother love and who we (humans) all are.
Just so lovely – Thank you! Mom to 3, middle son, Tomas DS, 7
Thank you for the comment! I have a special place in my heart for other mamas of 3. :)
This is so beautiful and moving. I’m in tears. Profound, my friend.
Aw, thanks, lady. It’s a good day’s work if I can make you cry. ;)
This is so beautiful, Jisun. You are a true poet. I love all of the imagery you use here, the twisting and turning, joining and separating. It actually is reassuring to think about them growing up and leaving me (gulp) if I think about it this way. I never knew about the fetal DNA remaining in the mother until I read your work. Keep it coming!
Isn’t it fascinating? I had heard about it a while back but had never read that the exchange could happen between siblings as well. We are truly connected.
I’ve had this on my mind too after Laura Grace Weldon had posted on this topic. I love the knowledge that my cells exist in others and others cells exist in me, including the babies that I never actually got to hold. I also love that my children share each other’s cells- sigh….http://lauragraceweldon.com/2012/06/12/mother-child-are-linked-at-the-cellular-level/
I have an endless appetite for this kind of stuff, I just find it so interesting. We are lulled into this false belief that we understand the human body, but there’s so much mystery still. Thank you for the link!
Damn, girl! This was freakin’ awesome. Thank you.
So that’s Latke!
Seriously, I love all the photos of your taters. In my last essay (which I was finishing when you posted this), I went searching for a picture taken 16 years ago when my oldest two sons were 3 and 6 months. Back then it was all film, not digital, and I had to look through four photo boxes before finding the pictures I was after. Which means I spent nearly an hour wandering through what *suddenly* became the past, the time when my first babies were still babies.
And it occurred to me, in hindsight, that I was one of them. Even though I was 28 when my first child was born, we were all youngsters on the adventures of their childhoods.
Now, my kids are old enough to reflect back to me their thoughts and memories of the past. They don’t ask me what is was like, they tell me, sometimes remembering the past in far clearer detail than I do. But I also hear from them a collective memory of feeling–we were together and it was good. And perhaps that’s why we are still together today and it is still very, very good. As I’m sure will be the case with your loving family.
This is so true, I remember this as well! I used to remember so much that my parents had forgotten. And it was an adventure, just like you say. I have so many memories of my parents being carefree and silly with me, and that feeling you describe of just being together. :)
I feel like many of your entries are written hugs. I frequently close the page feeling warm and uplifted. Thank you.
Oh, Colleen, what a big smile you put on my face. Thank you!