Change of plans.
Tantrums will just have to wait. Until tomorrow.
I started following Kelle’s journey soon after I started blogging last May, which also happened to be soon after I became a mother.
Kelle and I are similar in age. Our babies (her Nella and my Levi) are also very close in age. She lives in Florida. I live in Australia. She wears red cowboy boots. I wear black flip-flops. Perhaps beyond being close in age and both being mothers we don’t have much in common at a glance… and yet as many of her readers would probably attest to, I feel close to this woman who dares to bare her heart on a page and share her treasured family with the world.
Through reading her posts and pouring over her delicious photos I’ve been able to absorb some of her life experience… and it’s truly made me a better person. And when I say better, I mean more aware, more open, more empathetic, and more willing to do my best to try and look at life—and the small things—from a different perspective.
This woman inspires me.
But it’s her little girls who have captured me.
Nella, the youngest of the two, is one of the special ones with the “magic chromosome.” Nella has Down Syndrome… And I have fallen in love with her.
Before reading Kelle’s blog, I hadn’t thought much about Down Syndrome. I also hadn’t thought much about the possibility of one of my children being born with Down Syndrome… or any disease for that matter.
Any mother knows that it’s a possibility, but like most, when those thoughts would drift into my mind from time to time I was always quick to dismiss them and be deliberate about “thinking positive.”
But I’ve redefined what it means to “think positive” in this case.
Thinking positive in this context is remembering that any child, no matter how many chromosomes they are born with (or other difficulties for that matter), is still a beautiful and precious individual so worthy of loving and cherishing, honoring and admiring.
This line of thinking isn’t exactly new for me. I’ve always believed that life is sacred and precious… and that it’s easiest to see within the purity of children. But it has forced me to think about this truth within the stark reality of hearing those dreaded words: “I’m sorry, but your child has… fillintheblankhere.”
I write this as a pregnant woman fully aware that the child I carry within me is yet to be known. But this child that I still know so little about is already deeply loved. No matter how the labor and delivery goes, no matter what gender s/he turns out to be, no matter her personality or wit or capacity to comprehend, no matter which side of the family he comes out looking like, no matter her abilities, no matter his strengths or her weaknesses, and no matter the number of chromosomes.
I would not be one of the 92% of women who abort when they discover they are carrying a child with the “magic chromosome”… but I am also not the woman to judge that woman. We all carry our own difficulties, our own fears, our own insecurities, our own worldviews. But today, on World Down Syndrome Day, I want to leave you with some of Kelle’s words, because I cannot say it better:
“Mostly, the parent of a child with Down syndrome—or autism or Turner’s syndrome or Prader Willi syndrome or, for that matter, no syndrome at all—wants the world to accept their child. To love them, praise them, high five them on the soccer field, compliment their awesome sneakers, invite them to birthday parties, ask them questions and really listen when they reply, pick them for playdates, help them when they’re struggling, teach them when they need it and recognize all the good they have to give the world.”
Kelle urges us, not just as mothers, but as individuals who carry the ability to influence in the everyday, to “Pay attention to the person, the child, the soul—not the wheelchair, the chromosome, the difference. Allow yourself to be astonished—to learn something new from someone, to be inspired, to laugh, to enjoy a moment. And then pass it on. Spread your awareness message by the way you live, the way you speak and the way you treat people.”
Dear friends, this is just my one little way to bring light to an issue that touches millions of people the world over. I desperately want to be the kind of mother who teaches my children how to love and accept others through both my instruction and—more importantly—my example. How will you use your ability to influence in the every day to make someone’s life just a little bit better today? How well are you paying attention to the person??
Inspired by the magic,
adriel booker | the mommyhood memos | 2011
do not reproduce without written permission
Courtney K.22 March 2011 at 1:43 am
Such a beautiful, beautiful post. I love the quote from her you added at the end. It's so important to make sure that our kids grow up learning to love and accept everyone no matter what the circumstance. Thank you for sharing your heart and introducing us to this wonderful story. 🙂
Cameron22 March 2011 at 1:46 am
Oh Adriel, I love you!! I read Kelle's post, too & also wrote a big post on my response to that exact quote about wanting the world to accept your child. But mine was geared toward my role as a teacher and a mother & after I wrote all of it, I got nervous about posting it because they encourage you to not talk about teaching on public forums like blogging or Facebook. Now I may post it anyway.
Either way, my point is this: it's so interesting how blogs or people or words or even extra chromosomes can connect people on such sensitive levels. When I read that post, I felt instantly connected to Kelle because I related to her, even with a child with the more common number of chromosomes. Then after reading your post, I realized that we are connected in our views of the world and also in our connection to Kelle.
I love blogs. Seriously, this is why I blog. Connections like this.
Melanie Samsel22 March 2011 at 2:00 am
Great post Adriel. I'm still crying.
Love ya, Mel
Jesse and Taylor22 March 2011 at 4:19 am
I loved reading her blog and story a while back. Beautiful!
Anonymous22 March 2011 at 5:24 am
I loved this post Adriel (I know, I love them all but) it's such an important topic – and you nailed it with adding Kelle's pictures and words. I can see why you fell in love.
Casey Martinez22 March 2011 at 12:10 pm
I love her blog and actually I do see some similarities between each of you and in your blogging styles! This is a beautiful post about loving for who someone is and embracing them. Nella is SOOOO cute!!
Kaitlin Godfrey22 March 2011 at 3:43 pm
I read her blog everytime it is updated. She inspires me as well. I have a brother with a form of Austim. I loved her line about just wanting them to be accepted. Very true.
cooperl78822 March 2011 at 5:13 pm
I think this post is perfect for today. I hope to be the kind of mother who helps her child to learn to include, to be the kind of child who will help her classmates and friends to feel accepted no matter where she goes in life. Besides, you never know who's going to be the next person to change the world!
Angel1 April 2011 at 2:22 pm
This was such a beautiful post, thank you so much for sharing. I read several of her posts, so inspiring. I linked back to you, hope you don't mind. I just felt I had to share.
Thank you again! It is such an honor to get glimpses into so many extraordinary lives!!!
nphjcwlaz22 July 2011 at 9:23 pm
2 for 2 « The Mommyhood Memos19 January 2012 at 9:08 pm
[…] the Memos this last year then you know this is an issue close to my heart. I first wrote about World Down Syndrome Awareness Day in March, and then later in the year was faced with the possibility that our own son might have […]
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