WDSD 2017

Today is the 12th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD).  It is a day to celebrate the lives of those born with a third copy of their 21st chromosome, which is why it falls on this day (3/21).

More importantly, it is a day to commemorate the achievements–big and small–of those born with Down syndrome. A day to share that our loved ones with Down syndrome are people with goals and expectations who can greatly contribute to the rest of the world; that their lives are incredibly meaningful and valuable.

March 21 is more than likely an ordinary day for most people, but for those of us living in the Down syndrome community it has been described as a day of celebration.  A celebration of life, love, potential, hope, inclusion and acceptance.  Today we encourage unlimited possibilities in the futures of our children.  We are more proud than ever to share how Down syndrome has touched our lives.  We stand together to remind everyone that we are a strong community based on a sense of togetherness that is moving mountains.

People may honor World Down Syndrome Day in different ways.  Some people wear brightly colored or mismatching socks, while others wear blue and yellow. Some perform random acts of kindness, share videos, photos or blog posts. Some may not acknowledge or celebrate the day any differently.  All of which is just fine.

As for us?  We will be taking blue and yellow treats to my daughter’s annual IEP meeting which happens to fall on WDSD this year.  On a day where inclusion and acceptance takes the global stage, we will be attending an IEP meeting expecting the same for our daughter (thankfully, we are in a place where that happens). How’s that for irony?

Please know what this day may mean to many people out there like me.  Most of us long for the same opportunities for loved ones who carry an extra chromosome–equal opportunities and the chance to show what they are capable of.  A life without boundaries where they are encouraged to dream big and flourish; one where a chromosome does not solely define a being.

Do you know someone carrying an extra chromosome?  Maybe you are a parent, sibling, cousin, teacher or a friend.  If you could tell the world something about the person you know with Down Syndrome, what would it be?

I would say this:  Tessa is a remarkable person.  She is not more or less because she has Down syndrome.  Tessa is genuine, smart and funny; and she has unknowingly taught me a great deal about kindness and compassion.  

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To learn more about World Down Syndrome Day, please visit https://worlddownsyndromeday.org/

You can also make a $21 pledge at Ruby’s Rainbow to help support higher education of young adults with Down syndrome by visiting https://321pledge.org/

Happy World Down Syndrome Day!  

*This post is a collective post of past writings about World Down Syndrome Day on this blog. 

Dear Tessa: Kindergarten Eve

Dear Tessa,

It is the night before kindergarten, and we helped you get ready. (Right here is where I nearly broke into poetry, but the only word I could come up with to rhyme with ready was spaghetti, and that pretty much ruined it for me).

Back to business…

We completed your minion project to bring back to your teacher tomorrow. Your pink hearts and unicorn book bag is packed and waiting by the front door, where we will adjust it on your tiny shoulders just before we leave the house. It is full of all of many things you need, and probably some things you don’t.

We played outside tonight, stealing the last of summer’s glory; soaking up every moment before it was time to come back in.  After dinner you climbed up the stairs, step by step, chatting with your dad the entire way to the bathtub. When he offered to rinse your hair, you told him you could do it yourself.

Kindergarten Eve

You handpicked your outfit and laid it out on your dresser; brushed your teeth and asked me to brush your hair. Normally bedtime is a little intense.  Tonight was no different.  Bedtime was accompanied by the usual dose of drama and restlessness; a routine your dad and I are numb to by now.  Once you and your sister settled down, we sat on your bed and read The Night Before Kindergartena book given to you at your birthday party; and we sprinkled Ready Confetti made with magic Jitter Glitter under your pillow as provided by your new teacher. I hugged you harder and longer than I have in a long time.  For the life of me, I could not let go.  Then I kissed your forehead, told you I loved you and wished you sweet dreams.

In true Tessa fashion, you are as cool as a cucumber.  Not nervous or scared; just poised and ready to go.

How did this happen so fast?  From baby to big girl in the blink of an eye…

baby to big girl

I asked your daddy how he was doing?  He took a deep breath and then another one, and said, “I’m okay.”  I replied the same back to him.

As long as you always believe in yourself and know how great you are, you will do big things in this world.  We just know it.  Promise me that you know it too?  Tomorrow is a big day, and you are going to do awesome.

Spread your wings and fly sweet girl.

Love, Mom…and daddy, too.