baby with down syndrome in football jersey

A Letter to My Son With Down Syndrome on His 2nd Birthday

Dear Anderson,

The first year of your life was a whirlwind. It was the year of new: a new baby, a new diagnosis, a new heart, new terminology, new weekly appointments, new looks from strangers, new sorrows and new hope.

The second year of your life, well, wasn’t.

mom holding son with down syndrome on birthday

We settled into our new title of special needs parents. We took dozens of classes to learn how to help you best. We got used to the weekly appointments and now even look forward to them. We return inquisitive stares with inviting smiles — open to conversation if it should come.

Your first year we learned a lot about you. The second year of your life was one where we got to know you.

baby with down syndrome in football jersey

Most moms could do without taking their 1-and-a-half-year-old on multiple errands, but not me. I like bringing you wherever I can because you, my love, are a joy-spreader. You have a wave and a beaming smile to all you come across. You make the days brighter and hearts grow wider.

And I’m not saying you don’t have an opinion about things. You most certainly do. You’ve perfected the head shake when your answer is “no.” You certainly don’t like that I won’t let you crawl on waiting room floors or when your food doesn’t come out fast enough.

I like that you’ve got spunk in that gorgeous heart of yours.

If you’re in your teenage years reading this, and maybe you don’t like how your extra chromosome makes you different from your peers, I want you to remember this: I wouldn’t change a thing about you.

Maybe that doesn’t mean much coming from your mom, but hear me out. When we first learned you had Down syndrome I was determined that it would just be a part of you, that it wouldn’t define you. Let it. Because here’s the thing — that extra 21st chromosome is what makes you, you.

mom holding son

This year my son, I have fallen in love with you for all that you are. I hope you always see in yourself what I see in you: a guy who is truly unique, who has an abounding capacity for fun, a love for learning, who has fierce love in his heart, and who has endless possibilities in front of him.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.


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Photographer Mary Huszcza captured Erika and Stephen Jones and their daughter, Abigail, in photo series.

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A professional photographer and his daughter with Down syndrome take pictures of the same subject in a fun “photo duel” to show the artistic capabilities of people with disabilities.

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Mom Becomes Special Needs Photographer After Her Daughter Is Born With Down Syndrome

Stephanie Mullowney’s passion for photography didn’t start until after her daughter was born with Down syndrome. Now Mullowney runs Paper Dolls Photography.

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Collette Divitto, Woman With Down Syndrome, Starts Collettey's Cookie Business

Collette Divitto knows how to make a good cookie, and now the 26-year-old is learning how to run a business. Her company, Collettey’s, started after Divitto, who has Down syndrome, found it difficult to find a paying job.

“Many people who interviewed me for jobs said I was really nice but not a good fit for them,” Divitto told Upworthy. “It was really hurtful and I felt rejected a lot.”

With the help of her mom and her sister, Divitto landed her first recurring order, 100 cookies per week for Golden Goose Market. After Divitto’s story aired on CBS Boston, the Boston-native’s business has been booming, with more than 10,000 orders coming in from around the world. Now, due to expanding demand, Collettey’s has moved beyond Divitto’s kitchen and into Golden Goose Market’s industrial kitchen.

To help meet the demand for her chocolate chip cookies dipped in cinnamon, Divitto has turned to GoFundMe, with the hopes of raising almost half-a-million dollars so she can expand her business and hire others with disabilities.

“Do not give up,” Divitto told ABC News. “Live [your] dreams and keep on doing what you have to do.”

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