Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy World Down Syndrome Day

Today is VERY special. It’s WORLD Down Syndrome Day! Why 3/21? Well, every individual born with Down syndrome has 3 copies of his/her 21st chromosome. Those of us that were not born with Down syndrome only have 2 copies of the 21st chromosome. Individuals with Down syndrome have an extra copy. I’m pretty sure that extra chromosome is all the extra good stuff-sprinkled with an extra dose of STUBBORN. 

Austin has opened my eyes to a completely different world. It’s a beautiful world with acceptance and love. He has made me more aware to the fact that those with disabilities have strengths and weaknesses just like all of us. Disabilities (in general) have far too many stereotypes. People don’t understand. Therefore, this different life that we lead must be filled with heartache, sadness and grieving the child I thought I would have. In honor of World Down Syndrome Day, I would like to set the record straight. Our life is anything but sad. It’s busy and some days are crazier than ever- but I still wouldn’t trade my sweet boy for anything. Would he have the same sweet laugh without that extra chromosome? Would he make silly animal noises without that extra chromosome? Would he be the smart little boy who tries to use his cute smile to get out of working during his therapies? The truth is that I don’t want to know what he’d be like without an extra chromosome because he wouldn’t be Austin!
He was fearfully and wonderfully made. The traits of Down syndrome that some see as “imperfect” are beautiful to those who love him. Most of all, they are beautiful to his Lord and Savior. We get a lot of “second glances” while out in public. Most of our encounters with other people are pleasant, but there’s always the occasional not so pleasant encounter. You know, those dreadful looks of pity or even sadness.  If they only knew…I don’t need pity or sadness. In fact, I feel sorry for those who are so misinformed and uneducated. Our life is much more “normal” than you would ever guess.  Most of all, we are so thankful to God for making Austin extra special.  I’m not really sure that HE is the one who faces more challenges in this world...perhaps it’s those around him who are misinformed? Get informed! Educate yourself!
Happy World Down Syndrome day to all of our friends with an extra chromosome. We are so blessed to have such an amazing group of friends brought together all in the name of that sweet chromosome.