Our children are special gifts…Every child brings something unique to her [his] family. –Lovina Johnson
Being a parent is tough. I’m convinced that being a mom is tougher. We carry everything our children are in our hearts—the good, the bad, and everything between. It takes an insane amount of patience to step back and allow them to become, an extreme amount of self-training to work against our natural tendency to mold them into our ideal of perfect little beings who refine all the imperfections in us.
As moms we look forward (with bittersweetness) to our children’s increasing independence as they grow up and away from us and into their own adulthood.
Because of a brief exchange I had with a “special needs mom,” as she describes herself, I’ve been thinking about what this means for parents of “differently abled” children–children who are always set against strict societal definitions of normal and perfect and genius. How do these moms feel when societal standards are “out of reach” or “impossible” or “unattainable” for their children? When independence is a long, long way from now, if at all?
One of my dearest friends, Lovina, reminded me through a YouTube video that today is World Down Syndrome Day, and she answered “in brief” the question.
It warmed my heart to hear her share the story about her beautiful daughter Nya. One of my favorite people in the whole world was my mom’s youngest sister, Patricia. Trish, as we called her, had Down Syndrome. She lived to the age of 42 though she was not expected to even reach double digits. She was one of the sweetest souls and I vividly remember childhood and adulthood moments with her.
Today, I’m thinking about Trish and Nya. Today, I’m thinking about Lovina and all the moms and dads who learn that though their kid is not perfectly “crafted” by the world’s standards, they are beautifully perfect in their own skin.
To learn more about Down Syndrome and find out what’s going on around the world today, follow the links below:
I appreciate Lovina’s words–every child is a precious gift. Celebrate that today.