There are some days that I don’t even think about Down Syndrome.
I mean, Gellibean has Down Syndrome…Yes. But Down Syndrome does NOT define who she is.
Right now, we are
surviving enjoying the “terrible twos,” so aside from some developmental delays, Gelli is just as naughty, funny, and independent as most other two year olds. She gets up every morning and asks to brush her teeth, begins her day by eating a healthy breakfast, and pretty much runs the whole household into doing what she wants to do…exactly when she wants to do it.
I’ve decided that this will be the school year that I enroll her in an activity with other children. I just haven’t gotten around to deciding which one it will be. I’m considering Gymboree, Little Gym, and some of the programs in the preschools in the area like The Little Apprentice. These are all the same activities I considered with my three big kids. So there isn’t much difference in how I am raising Gelli, except for my awareness. GELLI HAS MADE ME SO MUCH MORE AWARE.
But then there are days when I worry about Down Syndrome. Like, the day that I read somewhere online that there is high percentage of people with Down Syndrome who develop Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is hereditary and I have it on both sides of my family. Knowing that fact is scary enough, and then couple it with idea that Gelli is at an even higher risk for it simply because she has an extra chromosome? Well…I was in bed for days after I read that information. The good thing was that Gelli was still small enough that she could just cuddle up next to me.
But I digress, and that’s not why I’m writing today. I don’t like to write about sad and unpleasant things, although, I do know that they are a part of life. I share them when I think it will mean something to someone. I share them when it helps me heal.
Today I’m writing for awareness…and for KINDNESS.
I have always understood the concept of being “nice,” or doing something “nice” for someone. But after I saw this post on Pinterest, my idea of Random Acts of Christmas Kindness evolved into something so much more. It became an activity that I did with the kids during Advent. We talked about kindness, we talked about doing things for people, we talked about how fortunate we are, and then we went out and shared our Random Acts of Christmas Kindness.
There have been some recent (very sad) current events which sparked a conversation between some of the SoMoms. We spoke about how cruel children can be to one another, and how there seems to be a a degradation of values amongst children who are left to navigate the internet, school, and even life, without the guidance of adults who can inspire and teach these children, the value of a kind deed over an expensive accessory or piece of brand name clothing.
But anyhow, the point that I took home was this: “Kindness is underrated.” My friend Neva, who also understands why I write today, said exactly that. “Kindness is underrated.” Neva and I have shared many concerns that we both have raising children with special needs. Be it our heartaches, fears, challenges, or children’s successes, it’s easy to identify with a parent who “gets” where you are coming from. And because of Noah, she “gets it.”
I think that one of my biggest fears when Gelli was born, was that people wouldn’t be kind. Or generous. Or understanding. Or open…to my daughter.
The irony in all of that is that I have never seen people MORE kind. Or generous. Or understanding. Or open…since she has joined our family.
So, today, I would like to ask everyone to share. Remember, Sharing is Caring and in this post, I would like you to post in the comments an act of kindness (or a RANDOM act of kindness for someone you didn’t/don’t know) that you have done or plan to do for someone you know . If that person has special needs, all the more better!
In one week from today, four readers will be chosen, so I can share something too! My friend Ruby over at Kick Off has a print shop. She printed the t-shirt that Gellibean is wearing in the slider above, and for one of the Mommas I follow online who has a daughter the same age as Gellibean who lives in California. I love it. I have been thinking of this give away since February for Down Syndrome Consciousness Month! But since I was so busy, I didn’t have the time to put it all together. Thanks Ruby for printing these for me 🙂
I’m opening this Contest of Kindness up to anyone…anywhere…So all you have to do is comment and share to have a chance at winning one of four t-shirts. I will pick four readers who leave a comment and each reader will get one t-shirt. T-shirts are in yellow and blue (for Down Syndrome awareness) AND are good for kiddos who are 3-4 years and 7-8 years old. (SORRY! I don’t have any other sizes, just the ones that are seen in the picture.)
Hope to hear about some of the beautiful acts of kindness you will share that I know are making the world a better place.