The last time Serena Williams won a major tournament was a year ago at Wimbledon. She was favored to complete a calendar-year Grand Slam by winning the U.S Open in September 2015. She almost made it, but lost in the semi-finals to Roberta Vinci in one of the greatest upsets ever in the history of the tournament. Exhausted physically and emotionally, Serena took a break. Although she lost in the finals of both the Australian and French Opens this year, she is favored again at Wimbledon.
I attempted to start this blog, Tennis and Trisomy 21, at the beginning of last year’s U.S. Open. The next day, my father died. Earlier in 2015, my husband, at age 41, had a major stroke. A few weeks later, my mother had a stroke. Fortunately, both recovered pretty well although life is never the same afterward. A few weeks after my father died, my mother-in-law lost a long battle with cancer. My husband and I both had to figure out how to talk to our daughter about heaven. I finished my 17th marathon in December and dedicated my finisher’s medal to my father and mother-in-law. I’ve kept a good pace at my full-time job as an Advancement Director at a small private school in Hawaii, but the past year took a lot out of me.
I’ve needed to find the right time to relaunch my blog about tennis and Trisomy 21, more specifically about my daughter. Usually children with Trisomy 21 come into this world with a complete extra copy of chromosome 21. In much fewer cases, some of a child’s cells have the usual number of chromosomes while others have Trisomy 21, which is known as mosaicism.
Ellen Elizabeth came into this world six years ago during the French Open. For most of my life, tennis has helped me through everything! I was grateful that much of Ellen’s first weeks were spent with me on the couch watching tennis when she wasn’t sleeping or being fed by me or her other dad. We were extremely fortunate in that Ellen’s physical health was astonishingly great and that she was an alert, glorious baby. At the same time, I couldn’t help but constantly wonder how she might make it in this world that has so much to offer but can also be brutal.
I’ve wanted so long to share my joy, questions, relief and other thoughts about Ellen and my observations about tennis. Although I’m neither an expert as a parent nor have I ever played professional tennis, I’ve now been a dad for six years and have worked as a tennis writer. I have finally begun this blog for Ellen, for me, friends, relatives, and for others out there — parents of children with Trisomy 21 or parents of children with the usual number of chromosomes, tennis fans, gay or straight parents or anyone who is lucky enough to have children in his or her life. I hope you will enjoy it, share your own experiences and thoughts, sometimes laugh or cry if you need or want to, but join me in my new writing venture. More tomorrow on Day 2 of Wimbledon!