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A Letter to My Son With Down Syndrome on His 1st Birthday

Dear Anderson,

A year ago, you¬†came into this world without much notice. Despite the anesthesia the¬†doctors administered to numb my pain, I felt the contractions get closer and¬†closer together. I pushed for what seemed to be only a few seconds, and there¬†you were¬†‚ÄĒ¬†claiming your place, wanting to be here.

You didn’t cry. Instead, your almond-shaped eyes stared¬†directly into my rounded weary ones and even further into my heart. And I knew.

The doctors said you would be born with Down syndrome. I remembered the horrifying
my ob-gyn gave when reading the noninvasive prenatal test results. I remembered the puddles of tears I cried after the amniocentesis came back confirming you had an extra copy of the 21st chromosome.

I didn’t realize that I¬†was the one in need of healing. I believe God not only healed but transformed my soul,¬†and He did it through you.

The first year of your life, has been the some of the most profound 365 days of my own. I sat by your side through your NICU stay and open-heart surgery. Your strength and resilience helped me overcome my own weakness.

In your first year, I cried more, worried more and prayed more. Down syndrome can bring medical complications, and unfortunately your little body has endured more physical pain in one year than I have in all my 28 years.

But in your first year, I also experienced more¬†joy. Each time I hold you, your body melts into mine, melting my heart. You¬†light up every room, even if it’s one you don’t want to be in. Your spirit is¬†contagious, and I love to catch it again and again.

Because of you, I have learned that having a different life¬†does not mean having a less-than life. Because of you, I don’t take things for¬†granted. Because of you, I have learned compassion.

Anderson, you have opened my eyes and my world.

Don’t mistake my words, son. I don’t believe God gave you¬†Down syndrome for my benefit. Nonetheless, it has been for my good.¬†

And one day, when we have the conversation about what makes¬†you a little different from your typical peers, I hope you won’t want to be any¬†other way. Because we can’t imagine your story, or our story, without everything¬†that makes you, you.

Jillian and her son Anderson smiling
Jillian and her son Anderson smiling

Follow this journey on News Anchor to Homemaker.

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