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A Down Syndrome Diagnosis Through the Eyes of a 3-Year-Old

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Miles’ diagnosis of Down syndrome at birth caught us by surprise.

Surprise, perhaps, is an understatement.


Despite all the fear, sadness and grief for the dreams and expectations we originally had for our second child, one person immediately saw hope. Nolan’s eyes never shed a tear, but they gleamed with the pride and glory of seeing his little brother for the very first time. He didn’t see a diagnosis — he saw his baby brother, his future partner in crime and his lifetime best friend.


In those first moments I feared all the things they maybe wouldn’t get to experience together as brothers. I focused on the “won’ts,” “can’ts” and “shouldn’ts.”  In retrospect, it took a 3-year-old to teach me the “wills,” “cans,” and “shoulds” of brotherhood.

With or without a diagnosis, brothers teach one other, learn together and live a life full of happiness, challenges, triumphs, fights, boogers, messes and everything in between.

One year later, Nolan is a typical 4-year-old who has heard the term Down syndrome, knows his brother goes to therapy and knows he wears blue glasses to help him see better. He’s more concerned with the toys Miles is trying to steal or chew on. He is also overly cautious of his little brother’s super gross reflux capabilities and other typical baby “aromas” he produces.

When Miles was born, his eyes begged us to love him and cherish him, even though he wasn’t what we expected. His older brother expected him all along and knew just what to do and say upon being promoted in his new brotherly role.

Sometimes superheroes don’t wear capes, don’t fly, and don’t always save the world. But they can help save a Mommy’s heart, and soar in just when they’re needed the most.


A version of this post originally appeared on We Choose Happiness

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Originally published: April 2, 2015
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