October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, 31 days in which members of the Down syndrome community focus on awareness, advocacy, inclusion and respect for all individuals with Down syndrome. My daughter was diagnosed a few hours after birth.
* * *
This is Abby. She’s 7. She’s in second grade. A regular second grade class. With the regular second grade kids. I’m so proud of this. Because my 7-year old, second grade Abby learns by copying and needs the role models of her typical peers to help her know how to carry herself in typical society. Because she lives in typical society. An amazing side effect? My 7-year old, second grade Abby is known and accepted by all her peers at school. Imagine that.
This is Abby. She’s a big sister. Her little brother has no idea she’s different but he is starting to realize that she needs help with things just like he does. So where he can help her, he does. And where she can help him, she does. Imagine that.
This is Abby. She can read. She loves to read. Yes, she is behind her peers but not for a lack of trying. When she was born, they told me she might never even talk. Imagine that.
This is Abby. She’s smaller than her peers but still pretty heavy, especially when she doesn’t want to move. I’ve been perfecting the art of using words to get her to move rather than just picking her up and physically moving her… because it won’t be much longer before I can’t pick her up. I’ve got some pretty good tricks up my sleeve although they all go out the window when I’ve lost all patience. …imagine that.
This is Abby. She’s still really stinking cute. The world still caters to her because she’s cute. I worry about what happens when the awkward stage hits and she’s not forgiven all her quirks. My awkward stage started not long after 7 and lasted… way too long. I worry about that a lot. All I do is imagine that.
This is Abby. I’m her mom. I’d put money on your ability to write a post just like this about your kid and their strengths and weaknesses. You could probably write a book about your hopes and your fears just like me.
We’re not so different.
ps. If this post feels familiar, thanks for reading all these years.