October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month which is very exciting in our household because we love getting to share what Down syndrome is to anyone who will listen. When we were told our son, who is now almost 2, had Down syndrome we had to do a lot of research because we didn’t know a lot about it. That research led us to understand that technically “Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21 [and] this additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome” (according to the National Down Syndrome Society). But to us, Down syndrome is so much more than that…
To us, Down syndrome is:
- watching my mom get a tear in her eye when Ryan finally calls her “ga-ga”.
- hearing my dad say that Ryan was “chosen for the perfect family” and “that he will teach us so much.” when we told him.
- having everyone stop me in a store just to say “hi” to Ryan.
- immediately having a club of strangers who are also part of the “lucky few” and feeling connected to them in a way other people can’t understand.
- celebrating like crazy when Ryan meets a milestone he has been working so hard on—and even FaceTiming “ga-ga” so she can celebrate with us!
- listening to my 5 year old niece tell me how lucky I am that Ryan is my baby–and knowing how right she is!
- looking into Ryan’s eyes and realizing that he understands people in a way I never will.
- seeing Ryan’s smile light up a whole room.
- having the most walkers at our local Buddy Walk and realizing that our support group is absolutely amazing.
- receiving all of the uplifting articles about people with Down syndrome from everyone we know.
- dealing with normal day-to-day ups and downs of a typical toddler; because he is first and foremost, a toddler.
- advocating for Ryan so that he can live his best life–whatever that entails.
- not wanting to change a thing about Ryan because he is “down right perfect”!
- feeling like the luckiest mama in the world because Ryan is mine!
But don’t just take my word for it…come back and check out our Mom of Fames all month to hear what other moms who have kiddos with Down syndrome have to say! And please, if you know, tell us what Down syndrome means to you and your family!