"Benjamin has Down syndrome."
I actually said that out loud for the first time in a long time recently. Believe it or not, I had written it loads of times, but hadn't said it since the emotional phone calls in the beginning.
In our Tuesday morning Mom and Tots Bible Study, we had an assignment about seeing God work. Sort of a time line of events that changed our lives for the better. Naturally, Ben's birth came to mind. I had written down other things like, "I grew up in church" and the endless learning experience of understanding what I believe and why I believe it.
Ben was life-changing.
Motherhood has been engrained in my DNA from the moment I realized I was capable of giving birth. Anytime my cousins and I got together, there was no argument about what we would play. House was the imagination of choice. We wrapped up our water babies in clothes that were too big, chose our appropriate bedroom home, dropped the "older ones" off at school and waddled around in our mother's high heels. We even had imaginary husbands who came home from work while we were cooking dinner. And let's be honest, I've watched enough TLC's A Baby Story, I could probably deliver my own child if necessary.
Down syndrome is a beautiful thing. It's not something to be afraid of, not something to be sorry about. It's just an extra, little chromosome that makes for cute, almond eyes, gaps between toes, ears unnoticeably placed lower, and the hand line that keeps on giving.
Ben was both everything and nothing that I expected. I've learned so much about the silliness of stereotypes. I'd like to make one thing clear: My son has Down syndrome. Down syndrome does not have my son. I've said from the beginning that my desire is to change minds. We get caught up in stereotypes only because we know nothing about what (or who)we're laughing at. I'm just as guilty as you are but, ultimately, I want to change that.
The National Down Syndrome Society is working to help change that, too. Advocating on our behalf, giving a huge voice to the quiet underneath their umbrella and teaching others the same thing I'm learning.
Please prayerfully consider making a donation in Ben's name to contribute to the work of the NDSS. We've already raised over 850 dollars! I'm leaving our little rockstar's donation page open until his birthday bash on April 21st. There's a fantastic Gene Simmons-esque picture on the left side of this blog or you can click HERE to make a donation.
Thank you for the donations thus far and thank you for loving my little boy.
Have an awesome Easter! I'll be updating on our festivities, so keep a look out. Until then...
SMILE! It makes your butt tingle.