We have a guest blogger in the house! Austin's dad is writing the blog post for tonight. It's nice to read a dad's point of view, so enjoy!
Hello everyone, it’s Austin’s daddy making a contribution for 31 for 21. First, I’d like to wish my baby momma (and wife) a happy birthday today. I’m not a regular at this, so forgive me if it’s a little ramble-ish… One thing that I’ve learned being a parent of a child with Down syndrome is that most people just don’t know how to respond to the subject of people with Down syndrome. My wife and I both feel very strongly about Down syndrome awareness.
When someone tells you that their child has Down syndrome, even though it may be the first thing to come to mind, you don’t need to tell them, “I’m sorry”. For me, it actually stings a little even though I know they mean no harm. Yes, it can sting. Why? Glad you asked. My little Austin completely holds my heart. He has held it sense the second he breathed air into this world. The day he was born was, to this day, the happiest moment of my life. I don’t want the beauty and profound joy of that occasion minimalized by someone’s pity. The thing is, there is nothing to be sorry for. He is an angel who happens to have Down syndrome. He also likes to play. He laughs an infectious laugh when he is tickled. He cries when he is sad or scared or hurting. Sometimes he is grouchy and sometimes he is ecstatic. He wants to get into everything he shouldn’t and go where he’s not allowed. He likes to be held and give kisses. He usually prefers to feed himself but sometimes still wants someone to feed him. He has Down syndrome, but he is not defined by it. My wife and I say that a lot, but it’s so true. Austin, like all others with DS, is defined by who he is as a person, not something in their genetic make-up. When I speak of him I say “my son” not, “my DS son”. I don’t ask where the “Down syndrome food is” or “Where do you keep the Down syndrome baby clothes?” or “where’s the Down syndrome diapers?”. Well, I’m starting to ramble so, signing off.
Well wishes to all- Austin’s “ daddad.” - as he calls me.