Dear Down syndrome,
When you first came into my life, unexpectedly and uninvited, I will admit I hated you. Of course my ignorance was the driving force behind my hatred and fear, but the negative feelings took hold of me none the less. Although there are days where those fears still reappear, I know better now. I know that in this life all the hard things are almost always accompanied by beautiful things unseen by those who will never experience fear and pain in the most deepest parts of their soul.
Yes, it is true you have changed the path for my son. His path will not be typical, and at times it may be more difficult for him than others. He will have to work harder at things most people overlook, and frustration may grow at times others may never experience. His success in life will not be measured by the same standards as those around him, and his desires and goals may never match up to his peers.
So while it is easy to sit and wonder “what if”…what if he were born typical like his peers? I will not waste my time doing so, as I know even if he were, he would be faced with other challenges just like we all are…that’s life. I will not allow you to make me somehow believe everything would be better without you for we all know in life there are no guarantees, and we are dealt our challenges. Some of these challenges we invite into our lives, while others such as yourself, were never asked for. Either way. we must all use the tools and gifts we are given to try and do better than what others may expect of us.
I was angry with you at first, and I would be lying if I said there are not still nights where you make me weep. Lord knows there will be more. However, I can say I have decided to not let you define who my son is. His spirit is his own, and you can’t take credit for that anymore than I can. His laughter, his chatter, his fits, his tears, and every single breathe he takes is a gift…
Nothing you can do will ever make me feel otherwise.
Even with all of these things you have changed for him, for us, I know my son is exactly who he is meant to be. While you may have made him “different”, I know in my heart even had you not inserted your extra chromosome into our lives, our Avery would still be as he is today…..
So in honor of you, on this World Down Syndrome Day, I want to just say thank you. Thank you for proving me wrong. Thank you for making me question how our society views what is “typical”, and for making my family and me the luckiest people in the world as we get to laugh in the face of normalcy each and every time we think of our Avery. My son is who he is regardless of you, but I can say by you changing his path, you have opened our eyes to see that maybe the path we always thought was right, was wrong this entire time.
A “typical” Mom
Photo credits~Hilary Northcraft
“There is no fear when you choose love. The more you choose love, the more love is in your life. It gets easier and easier.”