October has rolled in promising cooler weather, layers of leaves that will hug the ground, an enormous amount of awareness to be embraced. This is the month where celebrating those with an extra chromosome goes hand in hand with informing society about these special individuals with Down syndrome.
When Bailey was born twenty-three years ago, I knew he would be special. But, I didn’t know how special. His diagnosis was a shock sprinkled with grief. I am not going to sugarcoat the emotions that were felt, but lingering on those would have hindered all of us. I didn’t have time for that because there was too much work to do.
As we introduced him into our world, we were met with a variety of questions, statements, and ridiculous information. The common, “I’m so sorry”, made me feel as if my child had died. Yes, the child I thought I was going to have evaporated, but no one died, so to be sorry was lost on me. There were those who were uninformed and asked, “Is there a cure?”. It was and still is my job to inform. I was on overload researching the best type of therapy, forcing myself on unsuspecting individuals who didn’t realize the lengths of my advocacy, and basically stepping outside of the box whenever I could.
Bailey changed our landscape. He came into the world and shook it up. I won’t lie and say it was easy. It rocked us. It broke me just a little, but his spirit healed me. He touches everyone he meets. His light simply glows. That extra chromosome doesn’t hinder him. If anything, it gives him an edge. The unique ability to simply be in a state of acceptance, tolerance, and love. If only the rest of us could follow suit.