What I'm Celebrating on World Down Syndrome Day
World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated every year on March 21 (3/21). Fitting, because an individual is diagnosed with Down Syndrome when they have three copies (instead of two copies) of the 21st chromosome. Down Syndrome International recognizes the day as one to “help raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.”
Many people in the community, myself included, tend to happily celebrate the day and celebrate Down syndrome itself. I feel like there is so much to celebrate. So much to celebrate? If I was reading that statement before my child with Down syndrome entered my life I think I would have a hard time understanding what that meant. Why would one celebrate the difficulties that often come with Down syndrome? Because they’ve taught us perspective on what is truly important in life. Those issues can be big ones, life-changing, but they have taught me what to worry about and what not to waste my energy on. That is only one of the many reasons why I’m celebrating on World Down Syndrome Day.
I’m celebrating having risen above a difficult diagnosis and becoming stronger because of it.
I’m celebrating that Down syndrome is not scary like I once thought.
I’m celebrating the feeling that I am so lucky to have this unique individual in my family’s life, this individual whom I often find myself staring at in amazement.
I’m celebrating the joy my child brings me and my family.
I’m celebrating the unique physical Down syndrome characteristics that make my toddler so cute – her almond shaped eyes, her tiny ears and nose.
I’m celebrating the new friends I’ve made since entering this community, friends from as close as a few blocks away to as far as other countries.
I’m celebrating the diversity that Down syndrome brings to the world.
I’m celebrating the education my daughter brings to strangers on the street who may not know much about Down syndrome but then see her and interact with her and realize she really isn’t that much different than any other child.
I’m celebrating the advancements that have been made related to Down syndrome such as inclusion in schools and longer life span thanks to medical discoveries.
Most of all I’m celebrating that I am happily on my own unique parenting journey and that Down syndrome is a welcomed part of it.
Follow this journey at www.threewithatwist.com.
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Thinkstock photo by Den Kuvaiev