Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dear Down Syndrome,

The Mighty has asked everyone to write a letter to the specific disability or disease that you or a loved one is living with.  Here is my letter to Down syndrome:

Dear Down Syndrome,

I am writing you a letter, to say Thank You.

I want to thank you, first of all, for giving me the scare of my life that turned out to be not so scary after all.  When I found out that, upon Benjamin's birth,  you were going to be a permanent part of my life as well

, I was terrified.  However, you are like the best haunted house i've ever been to.  You scared the crap out of me, made me question every action I had ever taken to get to where I was at that very moment, and then came out from behind the scary black wall to give me a hug and say, "I was just messing with you, don't be scared!"  You were like the terrifying horror flick that has a surprising twist at the end that turned into the feel-good hit of the summer.  I love a good scare, so for that, I say "Thank You".

Thank you for the awareness and clarity you have brought into my soul.  Down syndrome, before you were in my life I didn't know what it truly mean to be aware.  It's true, like so many say, that I never did anything intentionally to hurt others, but hurt others I did.  I used words, and phrases that made others feel less than without realizing I was doing it.  I judged others and situations without truly understanding what it was that they were going through.  Thank you for opening up my my mind, my heart, and my soul to truly begin seeing myself and others with a new truth.  Thank you for leading me down a path to a person who, today, is very aware of the words she uses, the path of the people she sees, and the beauty that is the world around her.  I am still not perfect, but with you by my side I know that I will continue to walk this path becoming more aware every single day.

Thank you, Down syndrome, for my friends.  Because of you I have met so many amazing new people!  I have met Mamas and Daddies from all over the world whose lives have been blessed by you and they are an inspiration!  Thank you for leading me to this community of hope and love that has been my rock through every hurdle Benny and I encounter.  I can't imagine going through life and not knowing about all the wonderful people and the wonderful things they do to educate the world about you.

Thank you for making me smarter.  Thank you for making me be super diligent, something I never was before for myself, about what I cook, what products I buy, how much exercise we get.  I am better at paying attention to what goes on at the doctor, understanding medical terminology, and knowing warning signs of thyroid issues.  I am smarter, which makes me a better Mama, and I thank you.

Thank You, most of all, for every single way in which you make my Benjamin different.  Thank you for his beautiful eyes, his super-flexibility, and his cute little simian crease.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity, that most parents pray for, to keep my baby a baby just a little bit longer than most. Thank you for the extended nursing time I probably wouldn't have had without you.  Thank you for the slow progression into knowing what it's like to have a baby "get into things" and allowing me to just enjoy sitting and playing with him on the floor. Thank you for being a part of my Benny because he is just perfect, and without you he wouldn't be him.

Love Always,

Jamie Freeman

Benjamin's Loving Mama & Down syndrome's Biggest Fan

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Would love to hear your thought, comments, advice, or emotional outbursts!

-xoxo Jamie