Today I feel pushed to write because this is a very special day in my family's life. Today we celebrate the 2 years that Ari has been on the earth. I can't think of any day more worthy of celebrating!
It's amazing to me that times of anguish in life often become memories that I want to remember. There aren't many moments in life when our hearts are ripped wide open. The opportunity to truly feel deeply is one I want to recall every now and again, if only to remind myself that my heart has that capacity. Without the grief, my heart never could have opened up enough to receive the love that my son was bringing into it.
After we found out our new baby had Down syndrome, I knew our lives would never be the same. What I didn't know was that I would be thankful for that fact. I pictured the worst and all we have experienced thus far is the best! Ari teaches us everyday that he is more capable than the world would give him credit for. He teaches us compassion for others who are different than us. He helps us learn patience as he learns things on his own timeline. We are so excited to see how he will help shape his sibling, who is due in September, into a most loving and understanding person. I wish I would have had someone like Ari in my life growing up. I encourage you to befriend someone who might ordinarily avoid because they are different. You would be surprised how much you can learn from them.
One of the things that helped me get through our first days and weeks was reading Kelle Hampton's blog and book. I read her story of a birth diagnosis, much like our own, and felt so much less alone. So many parents share the feeling of fear when receiving the news and many people don't know where to turn. At first, it feels like you are the only one who has ever gone through this. It can be extremely isolating. In the last year, I have been honored to contribute to a wonderful project. It started as an idea to put together stories of diagnosis and submit it for publication. The publication part hasn't become a reality at this point, but a lovely website has been set up so anyone can access this information. 80 families from around the world submitted stories and pictures about their journey through the diagnosis of Down syndrome. What I like most about this collection is that it is divided into sections based on when the diagnosis was given. So whether a family was surprised with it at birth, like we were, or if they find out prenatally, they can find stories that relate to their situation and hopefully find comfort and direction. It's called "Unexpected" and can be found at www.missiont21.com
The website is up just in time for World Down Syndrome Day, March 21st. Please share with anyone who could benefit from it.
Now I will go snuggle my two year old and cry because the time goes by too fast!