I start this post feeling so super grateful.
@bestbuddiesphl @bestbuddies @bestbuddiesasiapac This has been an amazing year for our family. There have been so many different moments brought together by so many different people which I know I will not soon forget. Christmas is only days away, and I confess that I am way behind on my gift giving for our friends and for our friends who are just like family. But this? This is probably the greatest gift I could have been given. I’m not just talking about the beautiful family that I prayed for. I’m talking about all of the people who have supported #Gellibean and the fight to #EndTheRWord. This is us. Shooting for the very first time with a #greenscreen and all done by the generosity of some very wonderful people. Thank you?? Thank you from the bottom of my Gellibean loving heart. ???? #bestbuddies #bestbuddiesasiapac #bestbuddiesphilippines #inclusion #downsyndromelove #downsyndromeawareness
I’m sitting up in a bed with my loves surrounding me. Everyone is asleep. Everyone is healthy. Everyone is under one roof and we have more than enough. We are blessed. Truly. More than four years ago, we were gifted with the fourth child to complete our family, and SHE was gifted with an extra chromosome. That extra chromosome has rocked our world in every way possible.
Us. A photo posted by Michelle Aventajado (@mommanmanila) on
Gelli’s extra chromosome initially brought me to my knees in my faith. But as many of you know, it’s only by being brought to your knees, that you can you restore your faith into something greater than it was before.
When we began sharing Gelli’s gift of an extra chromosome with our friends and our family, we got a few reactions.
- We were told that having a special baby just like her would give our family an advantage in life. We were told that she was “lucky” or what people say here is “suerte.”
- We were told that “God gave us a special child, because we were special parents, and because we could “handle” it.”
- We were told that Gellibean chose us to be her parents.
I think all of these statements may be a little bit correct. I do feel lucky. I’m glad she chose me to be her mom. And I think the advantage is perspective…
I was inspired to return to the keyboard today, but to be honest I have been so overwhelmed to sit down and write for the past three months.
I know. I know. I have neglected writing here, sharing, and catching up on many long overdue posts because LIFE was happening. Sometimes, LIFE can do that. It can be overwhelming.
There have been many a days in the past few months where I woke up so extremely tired feeling like I was chasing time and even like I was never going to catch up. I suppose that is what happens when you are a mom, who tries to do as much as she can, balancing life, home, parenting, family, and trying to contribute to something greater than herself.
These things… the things that are greater than myself? These are the things that usually provide the greatest inspiration…much more than I could have ever imagined.
It’s things like Best Buddies and inclusion for people with IDD. It’s things like someone sending me a message through my IG account saying that she has stumbled upon my account and that she felt like she needed to reach out.
It’s meeting with Gellibean’s teacher, and learning of new antics, accomplishments, and anecdotes from her days in school.
After quite a long delay, we finally had our home visit parent teacher conference with our teachers from @thelittleapprenticepreschool. #Gellibean was so excited to host her teachers in her home! Can you tell? Thank you T. Maricel and T. AJ for coming to visit us! A photo posted by Michelle Aventajado (@mommanmanila) on
It’s watching my eldest daughter navigate adolescence with the help of some really great girlfriends.
It’s seeing my buddies in DLSZ finally start to make the connections that I hoped they would by opening themselves up to the idea that we are all alike in our differences.
It is by asking for help, knowing it’s a long shot, but being gifted with many surprises a long the way by people whom you didn’t even know supported your fight.
Today, those long shots? They are what I am most grateful for. I am grateful for everyone who helped put something very special together.
From shooting in The Rappler Studio, to very busy people taking time out of their holiday schedules, to donate their time, talent, and energy into something greater…
Early morning shoot at Rappler with @maria_ressa @mommanmanila and #gellibean. A photo posted by DAPHNE® (@daphneop) on
The End the R Word campaign is so near and dear to my heart not just because I have been gifted Gellibean and she has been gifted an extra chromosome.
It’s near and dear to my heart because before I had Gellibean I was extremely insensitive.
These are only some of the young ladies who will grace the stage on October 7th @mangotreemanila for The FIRST EVER #Pageant for girls with Special Needs. For more information on #MissPossibilitiesPH and how you can purchase tickets to help further our cause of #inclusion #friendship and #BeautyKnowsNoBoundaries please follow @misspossibilitiesph here on Instagram and on Facebook. If you would like to volunteer or learn more about what we are doing, please email email@example.com A photo posted by Michelle Aventajado (@mommanmanila) on
I am actually ashamed of how I was completely ignorant of the people I was hurting when I would use the r-word or words like it.
There is a big part of me that feels guilty about using that word before Evangelina, and maybe that’s why I feel like I need to educate people on the ill affects of using this word or words like it. Once you offer someone understanding and perspective, you offer them the opportunity to change.
And I suppose one of my greatest hopes is that when this short but powerful PSA is fully edited and out there in cyberspace ready to be shared and seen, that each and every viewer will want to take the opportunity to do the same.
I hope that it will CHANGE THE WAY WE ALL VIEW LANGUAGE…
Imagine the good we would do if each viewer would change just a little…and maybe even influence others to change a little too?
Be on the lookout for our Best Buddies End the R-Word PSA…I’ll share it here with everyone once it is completed.
Peter A. Ressa says
Good for you Michelle Ann! Love you, Nino, Gelli and all the kids! Great article and I know you will be a big success as National Director of Best Buddies!!!
Thanks Dad. Thanks for always believing in me.