Friday, 21 March 2014

3/21

One of the coolest things about my tiny daughter? Like her brother before her, she has allowed me to see the the beauty and unexpected joys that lie at the margins of experience, those stories we often don't get the chance, don't slow down and listen hard enough to hear in this achievement obsessed, 'perfection' seeking, sometimes brutal world.

Being S's mother allowed me see the deep and abiding love that can dwell in the invisible, those essential things not seen by the eye. For that I am ever grateful. My beautiful S, giving the stars their sparkle.

And in her own tiny life, our little seedling is already enriching us in ways I am only beginning to understand. Teaching us how important each moment is, to breath deeply and not rush. To appreciate how little the 'facts' can tell us about love. To celebrate and champion the unique, the unorthodox, the quirky and the singular.

Both my children have and continue to take me on journeys that reveal their truths in gently unfolding, mysterious ways. Or sometimes in great rushes of knowing that are so striking their realization is almost visceral.

Because of my children, I am a braver, more compassionate - and yes, more human - being than I ever gave myself credit for in the life I had before they came along. I am fiercely proud of them both. Our kids, they're one of a kind.

Although I can understand why some parents might, I don't feel fear when I think about raising a child with Down syndrome. Truly, we are so excited to begin this special journey. To have this unique opportunity to learn and grow alongside her. To see the world anew through her eyes. To glow with pride as she discovers and accomplishes and falls and gets up again.

And surely that's just a universal, parental feeling?


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Today is World Down Syndrome Day. For the 3rd copy of the 21st chromosome; get it? (Also the spring equinox, The New Year celebrations of Newroz for a host of cultures across the Middle East and Central Asia, the day after my birthday and apparently World Happiness Day; so it's generally a week on the calendar I can get behind.) 

I'm new at all this Down syndrome stuff, but already I have learned that there is an amazing global community out there, full of love and acceptance and the readiness to challenge conventional thinking on all the things we think truly matter in life. I like that challenge. These are my people, I can feel it. I'm not religious and I've never been a fatalist, but it's almost as though everything until now was leading me to this.

I read a blog post earlier this week written by Lauren over at Sipping Lemonade. Hers has quickly become a favourite read; she articulates so beautifully all the things I am still too busy untangling in my own brain to put into such moving words.

I hope she won't mind that I'm re-printing here some of what she has to say about today, because I feel sure these are the kinds of things we can all benefit from hearing, whether we're facing our own challenging situations or looking for something awesome to celebrate today. I hope they inspire you as they have me.


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 On World Down syndrome Day:

Since having Kate, I’ve realized that, truly, this day is for everyone and anyone — whether or not you have or love someone who has Down syndrome.

The heart of this day is for anyone who is or loves someone who is human.

It’s World We’re-All-Created-Equal Day. World We-All-Matter Day.

It’s World Don’t-Count-Me-Out Day and World I’ll-Surprise-The-Heck-Out-Of-You Day.

It’s World Different-Is-Great Day. World Be-Yourself Day.

It’s World We-All-Have-Special-Needs Day. And World Wouldn’t-It-Be-Boring-If-We-Were-All-the-Same Day.

It’s World Help-Each-Other Day. World Love-Each -Other Day. World Serve-Each-Other Day. World We’re-All-In-This-Together Day.

It’s a day where we advocate inclusion and awareness of those with Down syndrome — and of all of us.

We are all born to mothers who we hope will love and accept and celebrate us. We are all born to a world where we long to be heard and respected. We all have challenges to overcome and strengths to celebrate — and we all need others to help us along the way.

And on World Down Syndrome Day, it’s a good time to remind ourselves, our children, our friends and family and communities: do not be afraid of what’s different.

Do not underestimate those around you.

Do not count out those who do things in their own unique way in their own unique time.

Encourage. Include. Involve. Accept.




You can find the original post in its entirety here


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And while I'm at it, since this video is doing the rounds this week, click on the link below. I dare you to watch it and not cry sloppy, happy, uplifted tears.

Happy World We're-All-In-This-Together Day friends.



27 comments:

  1. I get it now. What you said about these being your people -- it's really true. Despite (because of?) the pain you've faced along the way, your heart is so open to love in all its sometimes small and unexpected forms. I truly can't imagine a better mother for this little girl.

    Happy birthday, and happy 3/21.

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    1. And I think those words are the nicest birthday gift I could have received - thank you Hope. I'm trying to be the mother this amazing little girl deserves, and she's already making me a better version of myself.

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  2. Beautiful blog. Check out Enjoying the Small Things.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. I am familiar with Kelle and her blog (though until recently had no idea what a divisive figure she is in the Down syndrome community!).

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  3. You weren't kidding about that video. I'm bawling (and not just because hormones have been kicking my ass lately.) None of us knows what we're getting ourselves into, but it's going to be a fantastic, scary, thrilling, joyful ride!

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    1. Re: the video...I know, right?!

      As for the ride that's about to begin (for both of us, or anyone embarking on parenthood really), I think it's like I always say: half the stuff that's really worthwhile doing in life, we'd probably never even try if we knew what was *actually* involved. Thank the heavens for blind optimism! :)

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  4. For what it's worth, you might enjoy this blog too: http://www.themaidenmetallurgist.com/ I've been reading her off and on for a few years now, she and her husband went through infertility, and have a baby with Down Syndrome in addition to their other after-IF child.

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    1. Thanks for the link! There aren't many families (at least not that I have found) who have the combined DS and IF perspective.

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  5. Quite possibly one of the most beautiful posts ever, Sadie. So happy for you and your sweet girl, and the wonderful journey you have ahead.

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    1. Aaww, thanks Annie, you're so sweet. Although for this post, I can only take the credit for half!
      As for this sweet girl and the journey upon us...I guess I get half the credit there too, and I'm still stunned most days that we get to have this chance.

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  6. Oh, and I wanted to share this blog with you, http://alisonpiepmeier.blogspot.com/, called Every Little Thing. The author is a former women's studies professor of mine and a fantastic person. Her daughter, Maybelle, has Down Syndrome.

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    1. Oh, and thanks for this link -- I checked it out and Alison seems to have some interesting things to say about lots of stuff. Food, Gender, and her beautiful daughter...a woman after my own heart!

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  7. Okay, now I'm crying those tears - Happy tears that you are about to be such a wonderful mother and have so much more love in your life.

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    1. Thank you Catherine and sorry for making you cry! It really does feel like the love is growing exponentially; I'll work hard to live up to it each day.

      I hope you are doing well my friend!

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  8. Oh wow, what a wonderful, inspirational post Sadie! I'm so happy to read this - what a wonderful mother you already are, what a wonderful mother you are going to be. Beautiful!

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    1. Thank you my friend, for your kind words and for sticking with us through all this. You're a source of inspiration in being an awesome mom to an awesome daughter :) Love to you and your Moonbeam.

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  9. Happy 3/21 - although I'm a day late. The video brought tears to my eyes. As do the updates on your journey. I teach special needs kids (including Down syndrome) and I know it is true that everyone can have their place in the world. You are doing the exact right thing by reaching out and surrounding yourself with community.

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    1. Thanks for the wishes. I warned you about the video! ;)

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  10. Oh my god, I just watched that video and I am bawling. Yes, it's like this for all mothers. What a very beautiful video - thank you for sharing.

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    1. Told ya! I like the fact that, as you say, it actually speaks to ALL mothers, and perhaps especially has something to say for those of us who are embracing any differences of all kinds in our families. I'm so happy it spoke to you too.

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  11. This girl of yours is so lucky to have you as her mama. Beautiful words. And happy belated birthday!!

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    1. Thank you so much -- for the birthday wishes and the sweet words of encouragement and belief in me. We just keep plugging along, really!

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  12. truly wonderful, thank you

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  13. Beautiful. She is a lucky little girl - she's so loved. XOXO

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  14. Thinking of you -hope today has been a good day.

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  15. So beautiful. Simply beautiful. You made my day. Thinking of you.

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  16. I wish I could see the video, but it's not showing up in my phone. Your daughter is one lucky girl to have a mom like you, and I know you feel just as lucky to have her.

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