A Promise to My Son for Down Syndrome Awareness Month
Today you are 19 months old; this is your second Down Syndrome Awareness Month. That first one, last October, flew by. Everything was still so new then; we were still settling in with you at home after all that time in the NICU. We were settling in to our new routine with your medical team and your therapists, settling in to our roles as parents of a baby with special abilities and unique needs, and settling in as advocates. We are more grounded now. More centered. Settled.
This Down Syndrome Awareness Month, I want you to know that when you gave me the gift of being your mom, you actually gave me 47 gifts, one in each chromosome of your perfect being. Every single one is a treasure.
I promise to love you and all of your chromosomes endlessly, to celebrate you not just during this important month but always. I promise to be your voice until you can find your own. I promise to make sure you are not just heard, but understood. I promise to shout your worth and teach you to shout it yourself — from rooftops and mountaintops and islands and oceans.
I promise to forever honor that extra chromosome of yours because it’s what makes you so perfectly you. I promise to dance with you wherever we are, to make you smile and laugh (if I could bottle that grin, that sound, I would), and to read you as many books as you’ll let me until you can, and you want to, read them to me.
I promise to show you and the entire world that a little bit different is actually exceptional. That you are exceptional. And I promise you will believe it.
When there are hard times, I promise to pick you up and dust you off and cultivate your courage, because we both will need it and you have it in spades. I promise to show you every single day that yes you can do anything and be anything you want. I promise to pave the way forward for you with kindness and inclusion, to fight for you and alongside you, to root for you and cheer for you and to be your biggest fan.
This month is about celebrating you and honoring you and your little bit extra, but I promise I will spend my whole life doing just that.
I love you Wyatt. Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month.