The Moment I Realized My Son With Down Syndrome Isn’t a Kid Anymore


And so we transition. Ready or not.

My son Davis is going to turn 13 in a couple of weeks and I’m dreading it. We had a simple moment the other day in our house that felt to me like the biggest transition of all. My husband quietly took my son, Davis, into the bathroom and gently shaved the shadow off of his upper lip.

Children with Down syndrome hit puberty more quickly than most typical children and this whisper of a moustache was a sad sight on our little boy who is growing up so quickly.

We have been blessed by the warm reception we have received across these past years.  Cute and special, Davis was always approachable and friends as well as many individuals we didn’t know were always extraordinarily kind. Although I don’t think we were attention-seekers, we were always attention receivers. Our home is filled with an abundance of gifts and our hearts are filled with an abundance of experiences and memories.

Even the woman who approached us in an airport and rubbed Davis’s head because she said he is good luck is remembered kindly, because her intention was pure and because I agree — I hit the jackpot when he was born. He makes me feel like the luckiest mother in the world.

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As we head into his teenage years, I don’t think there’s much I would have done differently early on. When I ask myself that question I respond the same way for all three of my boys: I wish I would have enjoyed each moment more, lingered in each sweet hug a little longer, held on to my patience when I felt I was on the brink of losing it, trusted my instincts with more confidence and laughed with more joy. To have felt defeated at times by the pile of laundry on the floor seems so silly now. What was the big deal?

My other sons will head into adulthood remembering my short-fuse moments, but not Davis. He only sees the best in me at all times. I am perfect in his eyes, imagine that, this mother who has failed so frequently.  And so the gift is less about who he is, and more about who we are in his eyes. There’s no judgement, no comparing, no anger, no disappointment in us and in this world that is so ready to point to our shortcomings and tell us we’re not moving quickly enough and we aren’t enough.

He tells us that we are. And for this, we are forever grateful.

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