It’s October!

Is it just me, or do the days {months?} seem to be flying by?

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness month and somehow, for the second year in a row, I have unintentionally not given it much fanfare.

some of my favorite baby Charlie pictures…

Want to know a little secret?  I have a whole folder full of posts where I have written plenty about Down syndrome yet shied away from hitting the *publish* button.  Many of those posts were written in outrage {like in response to our government’s proposed health care plan which will require that prenatal testing for Down Syndrome be provided to all pregnant women…just one example}. article here

Sometimes my words come out of frustration, wondering why the world seems to think having Down syndrome means something is wrong with my child.

It feels good to vent, to vet out my arguments even with just myself.

I really do try to look at things from an unbiased angle.  I ask myself if I’m so darn close to the fire that I can’t see the individual flames.  Maybe, I reason, I’m so enraged over this prominent issue {individuals with Down syndrome = not worthy of life} because I do have a son with Down syndrome.  You know the whole since this is my reality, I will defend my child, our life, etc. sort of mentality

This is probably the same stance the other side takes as well.

But I don’t think I’m ignorant, or naive, or defensive.  I have given birth to a child with Down syndrome.  I have lived the reality of raising him.  Charlie is stubborn and funny and kind and smart.  So are my other two children.

And come to find out I’m not the only mother with rose-colored glasses who is raising a son with Down syndrome.  A recent MSNBC story reports that: among 2,044 parents or guardians surveyed, 79 percent reported their outlook on life was more positive because of their child with Down syndrome

…also found that among siblings ages 12 and older, 97 percent expressed feelings of pride about their brother or sister with Down syndrome and 88 percent were convinced they were better people because of their sibling with Down syndrome.

I read these articles and I’m practically jumping up and down shouting see, see, it’s not just me.  The real life families who are raising children with Down syndrome are happy!  It’s a fact.  And the real life people who never make it out of the *what-if* stage and choose to abort, well they’ll never find out if their fears were true. 

But those words are often written with me standing on a soapbox, using sources and statistics begging others to see things my way.  I’m not sure if they are effective.

And yet…

I’m realizing that the truth is more powerful.  Truth comes in the form of simple notes.  Words written out of love by a mother to her son simply for who he is; a beautiful, charming little boy.  Shared pictures of brothers.  Life together as a family.  Truth doesn’t demand fanfare, or soap boxes.  It finds its power in the most unexpected places, a smile, bright blue eyes, a full-body hug.  Sometimes less is more.

———————–

For the rest of the month, in honor of Charlie, I’m going to share a few more *true* thoughts on Down syndrome.

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5 thoughts on “It’s October!

  1. THANK YOU Sooo much for this post! Today is my Jacob’s 1st birthday. I’ve spent the last week taking stock of our last year – the ups and downs and everything in between. I think if I’d written a post about my thoughts on families who have children with Down syndrome I would say everything you said almost word for word. Thank you for your weekly posts, your photos, and for the opportunity I have to have a glimpse into your life :)

  2. Great post, Libby! I think you’re exactly right – a soapbox won’t win hearts, but being able to see just a glimpse of your life with Charlie will speak so much more than the most eloquent of posts, letters to the editor, or articles in the biggest magazines or newspapers. What a fun post with a look back through some adorable pictures!

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