How YOU are encouraging ME!

I just have to say and share how much y’all and your comments are encouraging me during this 31 for 21. I’m so thrilled to hear what y’all have to tell me. Hearing about people you know with Down Syndrome and how much you’e enjoying getting to know Henry and even people saying that they’re learning more about Down Syndrome from what I’m sharing.

THIS is the beauty of this month’s goals. Not that we who are parents of kids with DS can shove our kids down your throats or make you feel guilty for the things that you’ve thought or said or even trying to make enough noise so that bigwigs will earmark more money for our causes. No. It’s the beauty of sharing and learning and combating ignorance on all fronts. Our country has slowly moved away from ignorance and prejudice in so many areas – racism, sexism, sexual preference – but it’s seemed for quite a while that it’s still okay to look down upon those that don’t “measure up” with developmental or IQ milestones. But that’s what’s encouraging me. People like those who have commented saying they’re learning. They’re growing.

See, ALL of our children are beautiful. ALL of them deserve respect and love and choruses of “Aww! how cute!!” Not some of the responses I received after having Henry – people who didn’t even acknowledge him as I held him and gave me pitying comments. Even saying things like, “I’ll pray that God will heal your son.” Which would have been lovely if he was sick. But he wasn’t. But because that person simply was ignorant about Down Syndrome, they didn’t know how off the mark it was. Lovely sentiment, totally off-the-mark. That’s all I want to put forth here in my little blog. That my child and all the other children, teenagers, young adults and adults with Down Syndrome are EXACTLY THE SAME as you or me. They have friends. They have stuff they like. They have stuff they can’t stand. They love music and movies and good food and vacations and reading and learning and having fun JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. Yes, there are some things they can’t do. But those things are getting fewer are farther between as they are getting more and more of the help and training they need from an early age. But they’re not catching. You’re not going to CATCH Down Syndrome if you touch somebody. (Though I think some people could use a little bit of that extra chromosome).

Listen, my goal is simple. Come to know someone with Down Syndrome. Put aside your fears and your uncertainties and get to know them. Maybe it’s a small child of someone you know. Maybe it’s a young man or woman bagging groceries or being a greeter at a local store. Maybe it’s someone in your neighborhood or at your church or something like that. It’s a very easy first step. Smile at them. Say “hi”. Do just that a couple of times. Then, once you’ve made contact, ask how they’re doing. Ask if they’re having a good day. Ask if they’re enjoying the weather. Ask if they saw a movie that just came out. Ask if they have a favorite book, movie, song, tv show. And talk to them just like you would talk to the cashier or the bus driver or an acquaintance at church or the mailperson.

And if that fails you, just keep checking in here. Watch Henry’s videos, read his stories, look at his pictures. Ask me questions if you have them. Scroll down and click on the “31 for 21” picture and go find some other blogs by parents with Down Syndrome. Get to know us and our kids. You will totally be like us – better for the journey!