Today might appear to be simply March 21 (3/21), but for those of us who are the lucky few, it is World Down Syndrome Day. Twenty-four years ago on this day, I was two weeks out from giving birth to my first child. We already knew it was going to be a boy, so a name had been selected, and we were eager to meet him. I was twenty-seven years old. My pregnancy was pretty typical and I was as big a whale. Seriously, at five months pregnant, people either asked if I was having twins or if I was close to my due date. I had dreams for this boy. And then, on April 7, 1995, our path changed.
In true authenticity, I was heartbroken, stunned, and completely unsure of what to do next. Grief was my companion. But, during this time, I was also dealing with Brian’s active alcoholism, so when I look back now, I realize that God sent Bailey to save me. He saved me from obsessing about my spouse’s drinking and provided a different focus. I hit the ground running.
I wasn’t sure about how his life would be. I was challenged every step of the way and it became my life purpose to educate those around us. He is one of my greatest teachers. Constantly showing me how to accept and love unconditional. Oh, sure, he can be a royal pain in the ass and have a delightful attitude, but that just shows that he is a perfectly imperfect human just like the rest of us.
Today, he is employed at the greatest place on the planet where he is loved and accepted. He is thriving and completely rocking that extra chromosome. Of course, there are moments where I still grieve the loss of what I thought his life would be like, but there are no regrets. He has enhanced my life and everyone around him.