Every April 7, we celebrate Bailey’s birthday. For me, it is more than just a day when my oldest was born. It is a reminder that life happens, plans aren’t written in stone, and that one of my greatest teachers happens to be a soulful human with Down syndrome. I think about life before him. How I had a plan. This plan didn’t include a child with special needs. In fact, that type of occurrence happened to other people. I was immune or so I thought. God’s plan was a whole lot better.
If Bailey hadn’t been born with his extra-special chromosome, I would not have been able to witness his ability to touch even the most resistant person. I would not have learned that there is something deep inside of me that found strength to what others view as a disadvantage. I would not have been able to look at the world through his eyes where he finds joy in EVERYTHING. A world without Bailey – the one who just happened to have grabbed a little extra on his way to meet the world – would be dimmer.
Today, I celebrate 23 years of learning and growing, while basking in the illuminated spirit of Bailey Jones. Bailey, who sees the good in everyone, makes me laugh even when I don’t want to, annoys me with his stubbornness, and calls me “the queen”. Bailey, who is a mini-version of his father, delights in pestering his brother, and who will use his disability in order to gain sympathy – if it suits his purpose. Happy Birthday to my funny, smart, talented, loving, spirited oldest, Bailey, who continues to keep me on my toes and is still full of surprises.