When we support Gelli through out the month of February, the WHOLE family gets involved. If my parents lived here, FOR SURE they would be with us to join the Happy Walk, because they are an integral and important part of Team Gellibean.
When my kids learned of Gelli’s extra chromosome, they really didn’t understand much. I tried to explain what I thought they needed to know in bite sized pieces that were appropriate for their ages about the challenges that Gelli would have as she grew up.
I wanted them to understand that their sister would be capable.
BUT I also wanted them to realize that we are all in this together and that as part of Team Gellibean it is their responsibility to help their sister reach her full potential in every way.
Gelli’s siblings play a vital role in her growth and development as an individual.
For this post in my #28DaysofAwareness month long series, I have asked Gelli’s older sister Gia to write something she felt was appropriate for someone just like her.
Here is her open letter to all big sisters who have a sibling with Down Syndrome:
Dear Future Ate,
Congratulations! I cannot even begin to tell you what a blessing your new baby brother/sister is. I too am an older sister to a very special little girl named Gelli and I speak from experience when I say that this journey that you will embark on will be one full of laughs, smiles, lessons and sometimes even tears (but don’t worry they’re the good kind).
So if you don’t already know, your little munchkin is EXTRA special. And I wanna tell you just a few reasons why:
- People with Down Syndrome have an extra chromosome. So instead of having 46 chromosomes like you and I, they have 47.
- Here in the Philippines, a child with Down Syndrome is born every four hours.
- There are three types of Down Syndrome, with Trisomy 21 being the most common of the three.
- Kids with Down Syndrome have to work a little hard to accomplish their milestones and can experience a cognitive, physical and speech delay. It doesn’t mean they can’t do things, it just means it takes a little longer to get the hang of it.
You must be thinking omg what does this all mean? What do I need to do? Is my munchkin gonna be okay? What do I do? These were all questions that I asked myself when my sister was born, and to help you ease your mind I’d like to share with you a couple things.
Well, first thing you have to tell yourself right now is that there is no need to worry, everything will be fine and you’re not gonna miss out on any future sibling experiences. You’ll still get to do all the sibling things (you will even have those sibling arguments haha). You’ll find things that you’ll love to do together, like me and my sister love to cook together and do each other’s makeup (which means usually I’ll end up looking like a smurf cause she just likes to use blue eyeshadow).
But one thing that I’ve learned from hanging out with my sister is that you gotta have a little more patience.
Try to not to compare, remember that your munchkin will reach all his/her goals and milestones in his/her own time. Because of that, you’ll learn to celebrate the victories no matter how small. You’ll be happier, things will be more fun- because you have a new little person to share all your experiences with who will see things for exactly what they are.
That’s another thing, your new sibling will teach you so many things and open your eyes giving you a different perspective on life. You may even find yourself doing things you’ve never done before just so you could do them with your brother/sister.
I find myself sometimes just watching Gelli, whether it’s watching her dance to her favorite songs or trying to decide what toy she wants us to play with; and in these moments I realize how lucky I am that I have been blessed with this wonderful little person who is capable of doing so many wonderful things.
Your brother/sister is a blessing and will love you more than you can imagine.
PLEASE don’t ever forget that.
I hope that I’ve helped put your mind at ease and I am so excited for you and what’s ahead of you and your munchkin.
I wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors, and if you have any questions, you can send me a dm on IG.