Happy World Down Syndrome Day! Sometimes I think maybe I talk too much about Down syndrome on Facebook or on my blog. Maybe all of you are sick of hearing about it. I have always known that I do it because I want people to see that having a family member with Down syndrome isn't the end of the world. Anyone who knows me knows I am a straight-shooter. I don't sugar coat things. We are normal, despite Bryce's extra chromosome. He really HAS brought more joy than pain. I want so desperately for people to know this. I have said before, I wish all of you could REALLY know Bryce. I wish all of you could feel the love that oozes out of him. I wish all of you could hug that squishy little body and know that all is right in the world. But I know you can't. I wouldn't understand if it was one of my friends, instead of me. I would probably always feel a little bit of pity, despite trying to understand.
Today, I read Kelle Hampton's WDSD blog post. (If you haven't checked out her blog, Enjoying the Small Things, you should. She has a daughter with Down syndrome, but rarely talks about it. She's just a cool girl.) She stated perfectly what I didn't know I felt.....the role all of you, my facebook friends and blog readers, play in our lives. What I really hope to accomplish. Here it is:
"You are the parent of the student in our child’s class—the one we hope teaches your child to reach out to ours, invite her over to play, sit next to her at lunch. You are the employer who we pray sees potential in our child and hires her to perform a job she’ll love. You are the teacher in our child’s classroom, the one we want to work hard to meet our child’s needs and accept the challenge of integrating your classroom to include him. You are the high school student who we fear might not take the time to get to know our child, the coach we hope finds a way to let our kid play, the school board member whose vote matters in terms of decisions regarding our children, the co-worker who might need to practice a little extra patience and compassion in making sure my child settles in to her new job and feels welcome. You are the thinkers and doers and world-changers who can help alleviate fears for millions of parents world-wide and make life better for people with disabilities. That’s you."
If my bragging about Bryce and desperate attempts to get you all to understand can reach ONE of you in this way, I will have done my job for our little guy. Tomorrow, I hope to share another WDSD blog post focusing on my big boy and the effect all this has (or doesn't have) on him. Have a great day! High five someone with Down syndrome today if you can :)