Meet the Square Pegs

I am Liz, a thirty-something wife and mother of two with an English degree and an administrative gig at my alma mater. I am a person of faith, a champion of the underdog, a believer in fair treatment for all, and a smartass. Not necessarily in that order.

Despite spending most in my life in a community than can be a little, um, retro in its thinking, I can’t shake certain pesky tendencies like being an unapologetic feminist and not hating people because of what color they are or who they love. In a way, I have always felt like a square peg in a world of round holes, and for many years, I alternated between pretending to fit the mold I thought I was supposed to fit, whatever it happened to be at that particular moment, and becoming silent and withdrawn, hiding in the back of rooms and holding my tongue.

Much of that changed when I met Sam. We were married in 1999, both just 21 years old, and we were every bit as romantic and na├»ve as that makes us sound. In the first few years of our marriage, Sam taught me that I had a voice, that I should not be afraid to speak, that I should not be ashamed of who I am or what I think. He bought me books about feminism and treated me as an equal in marriage and in life. He gave me hope that if there were two of us in the world, two square pegs who didn’t act or think like people thought we should act or speak, then together we could survive, hand in hand, not fitting in anywhere we went.

In 2005, we became three pegs when we welcomed Nico home in late October. He wasted no time proving himself just as stubborn and unpredictable as his parents, but overall our lives began to feel unexpectedly normal after Nico’s arrival. We bought a house and moved to the suburbs, we discussed bodily fluids over dinner and wondered at Elmo’s magical hypnotic powers over our little peg.

In fact, things seemed so normal, we had a certain nonchalance about our second pregnancy. But, in early October of 2007, when Lincoln arrived, mad as a wet hen to be ripped from his cozy home, we were blindsided by the news that he had Down syndrome. In the months that followed, as we wondered what our future as Linc’s parents might look like, we began to take this indescribable comfort in the idea that we had always been square pegs. Linc would be different, sure, but we knew that being different wasn’t the end of the world.

One year after Linc was born, I started a blog called Our Hot Rod Lincoln, where I wrote every October about raising a child with Down syndrome. I didn’t think anyone would read it, which made it infinitely easier for me to resolve to be honest about our experiences. What I learned through that experience is that people gravitate towards that kind of honesty, they crave it and honor it, and reading simple truths about someone else’s life changes the way they look at their own lives.

Now, four years after beginning Our Hot Rod Lincoln, I am ready to expand my focus. I still want to write about the lessons we learn every day from raising a child with Down syndrome (and his often high maintenance but always adorable brother), but I also want to write about all the other things that make us feel like square pegs. I want share more of our lives than the special needs aspect, and I want to do it year round. So, whether you have followed us here from Our Hot Rod Lincoln or stumbled on us blind, welcome and happy reading!

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