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Getting Through the Hard Seasons of Parenting a Child With Down Syndrome

One of my favorite movies, “A League of Their Own” has a very profound quote that I love: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.” As a former athlete, this has always resonated with me. When I became a mom, it became even more meaningful. As a mom to a child with a disability, this strikes at the very core of what I have been feeling for the last several months.

In this season of life, the hard things about parenting a child with Down syndrome overshadow the joys of parenting a child with Down syndrome. Lately, I’ve gotten really tired of “the hard.” So much is hard right now: going to doctor appointments, attending kindergarten, brushing teeth, having play dates, going out to eat. My son struggles with going to school, needs supervision at the playground, and going out to eat as a family is difficult because right now he only eats three things. The hard affects so many areas of our lives right now. There is no other way to put it — it’s cry-your-eyes-out-and-scream hard.

On the other side of this reality are the great moments. I learned early on in my parenting journey that it was a rollercoaster of emotions. Five years in, I am still on that rollercoaster. There have been tremendous highs — watching Gabe walk for the first time, listening to him chat away about Curious George, celebrating him at the local Buddy Walk or watching him achieve independence with various tasks and proclaim, “My did it!” Watching him do those things is pure joy, plain and simple. There is no bigger cheerleader than a mom watching her child with a disability accomplish a milestone, no matter how small it is!

As I sit here, caught in a “hard” season, I remind myself to recognize it for what it is — a season.  It will not always be this hard. That is why we just take it one day at a time, and know the hard will give way to great things for Gabe.  I know there is “no crying in baseball,” but there are tears in motherhood. But if I can train my focus on the “great,” rather than the “hard,” the joy of the great moments will overshadow the tears of the hard times.

Getty image by Magda_iStock.

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