Is the World Ready for My Son With Down Syndrome?
On the heels of an announced snow day, I ushered my brood downstairs and flipped on the news. Through the hustle and bustle of changing diapers and picking up tossed food, I breezed by the television and spotted a baby with Down syndrome. As with any time I see a person with Down syndrome, I waited with baited breath to hear the details. My husband and I watched and watched and waited for this mystery story. Impatient, we both took to google searching for a clue. Lucas was named the Gerber baby of 2018 and Lucas has Down syndrome.
This was a footprint in the future of disability. This one announcement can potentially change the way life will be for my son. This one step towards changing what we consider “cute” changed my world. And in that moment our world stood still and we wept for possibilities.
When Judah was a baby, countless people told me to put him into modeling. His own Nana must’ve suggested it to me every single time I posted a picture on social media. She was relentless. I chuckled as I thought she was seeing through a grandmother’s eyes. I second guessed and wondered if other people really thought he was cute or if it was pity in party clothes. Mostly, I thought the world wasn’t ready. Perhaps I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t equipped for rejection I thought was inevitable. I wasn’t ready for my bubble of acceptance to be popped. I wasn’t sure I could handle the cruelness of the world. I was wrong.
I didn’t have the faith in people that I persuade. I advocate for acceptance and inclusion and I fill my news feeds with all of the reasons my son is so lovable. Yet, when the chips came down, I felt I had to shield him; shield me. I didn’t have the heart to let us possibly be hurt.
I will no longer shy away from all that my child may do because of what may not be. That is not who I am. That is not who I want my son to be. That is not what the world is. The world can be kind and open and revolutionary, and the world is more ready for kids like mine.
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