I haven't thought much about Down Syndrome lately. With everything that Danielle has going on right now, Down Syndrome has faded quietly in to the background of our lives. When I look at her I don't see chromosomes. I see a sweet blue-eyed baby girl with soft milky skin. I see pretty heart shaped lips just like her momma, and a little button nose that accurately mimics the rest of the Alfonso children. She sucks her thumb, puts anything else she can manage in to her mouth, makes complete facials out of her avocado at breakfast, and is full of smiles and coos. I imagine her learning to crawl, motivated by the toys that she'll want to steal from her siblings, and to run after them in a game of tag. I'm sure she'll join with them in the bickering and whining eventually too, but every day will end with us cuddled up as a family reading a story together. She'll try her arm at softball and her legs at soccer, and maybe join the local girl scout troop. We'll have fun baking together and I'll teach her how to prepare a meal. She'll have chores, and hopefully an allowance if she's a good girl. She'll have time-out or lose a privilege if she's not. She'll grow in to a teenage girl (faster than we can blink an eye I've heard), who has her very own, VERY specific, idea of how she wants to dress. One day she will be ready to leave the arms of her mother and go out in to the world, become involved in her community, get a job.
Yesterday was World Down Syndrome Day. March 21st. The date 3/21 signifies 3 copies of the 21st chromosome, clever huh :-). This is a day to celebrate the people in our lives who have Down Syndrome, and to recognize their abilities and achievements. It was a day for me to recognize and be thankful for so many people who have helped to pave a path for people with Down Syndrome, for my daughter. People who have worked hard to promote inclusion, acceptance and understanding.
I spent the morning reading stories from moms, dads and other family members who share their lives with a person who has Down Syndrome. I was inspired reading their stories. Stories that not long ago may have seemed foreign are now so very close to my heart. You can read them too, there's a link up at Megan's blog, I promise you will be moved.
One of my thoughts shortly after Danielle was born was that she was here for ME. My faith had been renewed. She saved me. I realize now that maybe it was a selfish thought. I know Danielle will touch more lives than just mine. She will live her life serving God's purpose. Diversity is so beautiful and she will enrich the world just like so many others who share a similar genetic make-up.