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When I Realized My Son With Down Syndrome May Never Be a Pilot

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When I was pregnant with my daughter, one of the things I was the most excited about was putting together a nursery. I thought about each detail. I spent more hours than I’d like to admit picking out her bedding. I did Pinterest-type DIY projects for it… and I’m not the DIY kind of girl. I wanted it to be perfect.

You would think with this being my second child, I would be less enthused about the nursery. Although they’re adorable, you rarely spend much time in your baby’s room. But I didn’t care. If I was going to have a boy, it had to be planes. I came up with the idea because my husband, Andy, is in the Air Force, and I just thought it fit.

A couple of days after getting the word that Anderson has Down syndrome, my mom brought up the nursery. She asked me if I’d like to try to find some airplane accessories and get started on the room. I burst into tears. “He’ll never be able to be a pilot!”

The point of doing the nursery in an airplane theme was never about him being a pilot, but with all of my dreams for my son crashing and burning around me it suddenly became important. In the days after the diagnosis, all I could think about were his limitations. How he would be limited in life. What he wouldn’t be able to do.

It wasn’t just his longterm future that kept me up at night — it was his childhood as well. I remember seeing a kid riding his bike when we were on our way to get the official diagnosis. Would he be able to ride a bike… ever? Would he be able to walk to his friends’ houses in the neighborhood? Would he have friends at all?

Time painfully passed by. I don’t remember much about the months after the diagnosis, but I do remember the days were long. But little by little, I started to research more about Down syndrome. I was able to reach out to other moms. I was able to see a brighter picture. And little by little the pieces of my shattered heart started coming back together. I realized my dreams had not been burned to the ground; they were actually rising to a level I had never thought possible.

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 7.04.47 AM

Since we moved in the last month of the pregnancy, we had only a few weeks to get his nursery together. When I started thinking about those dreams I knew what to do with the big red wall the room came with. I bought this decal that says, “Oh the places you will go…” Oh, the places he will go. Yes, he will be limited. At times he will have to fight harder than others to get to where he wants to be. But what an inspiration he could be. I say could because of course an extra chromosome does not guarantee anything, good or bad. One thing I do know for sure: his life will never be ordinary, and yes that is still scary at times but oh the possibilities.

Vintage Airplane Nursery

 Read our diagnosis story here. Read Anderson’s birth story here.

This post originally appeared on News Anchor to Homemaker

Originally published: March 6, 2015
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