Imagine what you thought your life would look like and then check into reality. Do they match? Mine doesn’t. It’s better.
Yesterday, as I watched Bailey play in a Special Olympics basketball game, I thought about how my landscape is so rich. As we inch toward Bailey being twenty-five, I am amazed how, despite all the bumps along the way, we are in a comfortable place. Sure, there are moments where I have some residue of grief, but it is brief because life is more colorful with him.
Life doesn’t give you lemons. It gives you opportunities. Life is the classroom and the lessons provide a gateway to living to one’s true potential. When Bailey was born, people actually gave me their condolences. As if he were not of value. As if Down syndrome was a death sentence. They just didn’t know.
It hasn’t been easy. And in true transparency, when he was little, I wondered why this happened to us. True story. I also know that I am in good company because, I would wager that a good chunk of us, the parents of these exceptional individuals, felt the same way at some point. I used to feel guilty for having these emotions, but if I am going to be the best parent I can be, then I need to be honest.
I watched him play with his heart yesterday. Helping his teammates, using his excellent defensive skills, and having fun even though his team lost. He is living his best life. He is thriving. And because of him, my life and everyone around him, is better for it.