Learning to Let Go of My Child With Down Syndrome

I made a decision this week that I thought was surprisingly easy — I enrolled my just-turned 2-year-old son with Down syndrome in preschool.

After having a developmental surge in October, Anderson seems to have hit a plateau. He is able to walk, but is still working on gaining confidence. We’ve been on-board with the “surge-plateau” roller coaster. But now that he has less than a year before starting public school, everything seems more urgent to me.

When I saw Anderson copying his typically developing friend last week by taking some independent steps, a light bulb went off, lets start this inclusion process now. I went full steam ahead, sending emails, making phone calls and rearranging appointments.

I thought I was ready — more than ready. But when I unbuckled him from his infant car-seat and looked at his smiling, unsuspecting face, the tears started pouring. When I handed Anderson off to his teacher and saw him sitting on the floor, happy and playing with friends, it was a downright waterfall. As I sit here at a Starbucks, childless, I can’t stop crying.

But as torn as I feel right now, it’s not about me. It comes down to this: I’m raising him to leave me, like the rest of my children.

At times, this might look a little different for Anderson than for my other children. I know it means more appointments, and I suspect it will mean extra help and tutoring, and maybe even a firmer push at times. I believe this is one of those times.

I know he’s still a baby. Part of me questions spending time apart from him when this (mostly) sweet phase of life is so short. I may even have people thinking, “Slow down, Momma.” But I am not the kind of mom who slows down. I like to believe God gave me Anderson, in part, because he knew the kind of mom he needed.

So, I won’t let my tears cloud my vision. It’s time to trust my instinct. I’m letting go, because one day I want him to let go of me.

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