This blog is a fun one to write, one where life experiences lend you a helping hand in life. My daughter was born with Down Syndrome, Trisomy 21. This journey thru life with her is one I thank God every day for. Her love, light, and general outlook on life is a ray of sunshine. She is full of laughter, smiles, and opinions that are very insightful. Life is a journey never forget to enjoy the ride on this roller coaster of life. You reminisce about every celebration, every defeat, every smile, and every tear. Being a mother is incredible, its a blessing that is compared to no other. It makes you grow and change into this person that is capable of so many things you never thought of.
The first thing I’ve learned is the heart is truly capable of unconditional love, the kind where you haven’t slept in two days, and you smile and are filled with so much joy because this small human you made thinks you are the best thing in the whole world. WIth no makeup, sweats on, rambling aimlessly about formula, diapers and the baby food they look at you with those big beautiful eyes and smile, and it melts away any doubt you ever had in yourself.
The world is a beautiful place
The second thing I’ve learned is there are so many loving, giving, incredible people in this world. It’s amazing how a child or adult with special needs can melt your heart and genuinely bring out the best in people. Where ever I go with my daughter she makes new friends, if the world were more like our kids the world would be a better place.
Anything is possible if you put your mind to it
The third thing I have learned is to push your child to follow their heart, its scarier for us as parents then it is for them. I remember when she did gymnastics she had an amazing coach but every time she went to the high bars I would cringe in fear. What if she falls? What if she gets hurt? What if she gets frustrated? All normal mother thoughts that we have all had, that make us want to say, “Okay, time for ice cream we are outta here”. But as Moms, we also know we have to be our children’s rock, be strong for them and trust its going to be ok, and not just okay but a great. Her coach was finally like okay time for you to breathe she’s safe and this is good for her. If they lose or win its a learning experience. So many activities now have an adaptive class that can suit your child’s needs. My daughter has done cheerleading, cooking classes, gymnastics, horseback riding, painting, ceramics, drum lessons, ballet, tap, hip hop dancing, yoga, soccer, swimming, and basketball. Some she loved some she didn’t care for, but I told her as long as she tries its always a win.
The fourth thing I’ve learned is some people can come across so rude, but in reality, they are just uneducated. Some people act amazed when my daughter walks up and pays for her things and carries on a conversation, and to me, it’s just my daughter being my daughter. I look at them looking at her trying to figure out what they are thinking. Generally, the way it ends is my daughter notices someone looking at her and instead of shying away she will say hi and introduce herself and nine times out of ten she makes a new friend and teaches people that we are more alike than different. I love her confidence in herself.
The fifth thing I have learned is, they will teach you more about yourself, the world, and love then you can even imagine. Life is a beautiful, fulfilling blessing.
Be open yet guarded
The sixth thing I have learned is there is a thin line between friend and stranger, our kids are generally so friendly and trusting that we have to work to teach them not to talk to strangers without making them afraid to talk to people altogether. Doing this takes an amazing support group of people to instill good behavior traits and be consistent about it.
Simplify your life
The seventh thing and this is one of my absolute favorites is with our kids there is no gray area its either black or white and I LOVE that so much.
Everyone is an individual no matter what the disability
The eighth thing I have learned is that to always get a second opinion, no matter what it is!!! Even if its an after school program ask around. Don’t just go with what people say is best for your child, take the time to research what is best for them and their individual personality, there are a ton of amazing programs out there. So many times when a child has special needs people try to put them into a cookie cutter program, a one size fits all, that is so unfair to our kids. They have so many possibilities to really do what they love in life, don’t limit them or their capabilities. Here is a link to one of my favorite non-profit programs out there, the family that runs it is incredible. I would confidently recommend this program to anyone with a special needs child.
Apple products are your friend
The ninth thing I have learned is parental controls are your best friend and all children disability or not need discipline.
Never let the world dim your light
The tenth thing I’ve learned is a child, is a child, is a child, no matter the disability. Let them play, let them grow, let them be who they are unapologetically the world will be a better place for it.