Mountains and Molehills

It has been one of those weeks.  The kind that makes me consider investing in a larger wine fridge.  But I am rolling with it because that is what I have to do.

Having a child with a disability does funny things to my heart. Extreme love and heartache have been known to co-exist all at once or pass by one another in fleeting moments of profound pride or sadness. I am still learning how to balance that; how to let that all happen as it happens.  How to let my heart and my mind be okay with it when it does.


But there are periods of time where it stings.  Times that my heart isn’t capable of balancing or keeping it in.  Seeing how the disability regulates my child’s ability to grow, learn and succeed; and knowing that there is nothing I can do to make it go away, but wishing so badly that I could if it meant that she could do something new with ease just once.

We embrace all of her successes and all that she overcomes.  Each of her milestones are important–like any child’s–so we celebrate accordingly, and she knows just how proud of her we are. However with each newly accomplished skill comes the regression of a previously learned one.  For her this is typical, but even after four years, it gets me every single time.  And I always tearfully wonder,     “…will it come back?  Will she ever know that skill again?  Will she have to work just as hard to find it once more?  Is it gone forever?  Did I fail her?”  

She works so hard to meet her goals.  We work hard with her as well.  I take it personally as I watch one her skills gradually slip away for an unknown amount of time.  Sometimes taking steps back is necessary–maybe even good, and I eventually realize that; but in those moments, the setbacks feel permanent–like a direct reflection of my parenting.  And I know she will get there.  She always does.  She bounces back when she is ready.

That is easy to forget.  I remind myself that this is all part of it.  She is loved and cared for.  She is learning and growing at a pace that suits her well…and us, too.

Be patient mama.  Don’t let worries take space in your heart.  


There are mountains and there are molehills.  We get by easiest when we can identify their differences, and figure out a way to get over each of them.  It is knowing what to worry about and when–or not.  It is remembering where she has been and where she has left to go.

The molehills prepare us for our trips up each mountain. Sometimes on top of those peaks, the tears fall; but on the way down I know we are getting somewhere. We are headed to the next great adventure. And we know that down the road we will make another tearful trek uphill, so we savor every sweet moment along the way.

My Name Is…

My name is Tessa.


I was born with Down syndrome.

I am not Down syndrome.

I am NOT identified by my extra chromosome.


My name is Tessa.

I am not a “Downs kid” or “that Down syndrome girl.”

I am a person…with one big beating heart.


My name is Tessa.

I have feelings and emotions just like you.

I am expressive.

I have good days and I have bad days.

Sound familiar?

Family Documentary Photography

Photo credit: Studio IV Photography

My name is Tessa.

I am complex and beautiful.

I am simple and sweet.

I am way more than you think you know.


My name is Tessa.

I am not special because of my chromosomes.

I am not a mistake.

I was perfectly created to be me.

Family Documentary Photography

Photo credit: Studio IV Photography

My name is Tessa.

I am smart.

I am funny.

I am capable.

I am NOT suffering.

I am strong.


My name is Tessa.

I have family who loves me.

I am accepted, not judged, by my friends.

Credit: Kelsey Jean Photography

Credit: Kelsey Jean Photography

My name is Tessa.

I am NOT a punching bag for the narrow minded.

I am a positive influence in this world.

I have a lot to offer.


My name is Tessa.  And that is what I like to be called.

***October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month.  We are all about using People First Language–people first, diagnosis later.  People first.  It is simple.  Identify people for who they are, not by what they may or may not have.  This month, I want to encourage people with Down syndrome to represent themselves by using the hashtag #mynameis in hopes to show the world that those with Down syndrome are people first; people who like to be identified by their names, not by their 47th chromosome.***

And a little throwback fun for you…