If I take anything away from life it would be that it is constantly changing. Nothing, and I mean nothing stays the same. If you try to maintain your consistency, then you become stuck. As a parent, the metamorphosis of our children happens second by second. There is no pause button. You can’t stop it. All you can do is go with the flow.
Last night, Bailey graduated from a vocational school. He spent two years learning skills to make him successful in the workplace. As I have shared, he began working at a local high school in the cafeteria several months ago. He has thrived there, grown more mature, and adores his coworkers. The experience has restored my faith in our society as this community has open their minds and hearts to this special young man who just happens to have Down syndrome.
As an added twist for graduation, I was asked to be the parent speaker. This is a great honor that also brings tremendous anxiety to lay out my feelings to a room of virtual strangers sprinkled by a group of supporters. This journey with Bailey has been instrumental in creating my strong advocate persona, along with a more empathetic outlook for those living with special needs. It is empowering to know that maybe my words inspire, help, or even change the mind of one person when interacting with someone like Bailey.
Twenty-one years ago, I fumbled around trying to figure out how to navigate this opportunity of raising a special needs child. I realized long ago that his existence was a chance to change the perception of others, to empower my life, and to aspire to be half as loving and compassionate as he is to everyone he meets. I have never questioned why God chose me to be his mother. Without him, my life would lack the sparkle that he gives to the world everyday. Simply put, I am a better person with him in my life.