You may or may not know that October was “Down Syndrome Awareness Month”. My Facebook page was flooded all month long with cute squinty eyed faces gracing meme’s with cute slogans, Ds trivia, and blue and yellow ribbons. Last year I loved this month long campaign to make people aware of Down syndrome, and I had hopes of one day contributing to it in years to come. But this year I refrained from much “awareness spreading” at all.
I understand that many folks have outdated preconceived notions about Down syndrome and there is a need to educate those people. But much of the info was trivia or slogans. There is only one thing that I want to make everyone aware of when it comes to my daughter’s extra chromosome. There is only one thing that matters to me.
I spend a lot of time and money researching and implementing therapies, supplements, and even pharmaceuticals that promise to minimize or negate the affects of her condition. But even if all of that fails and her body and mind are damaged by the extra genetic material within her, she is still a blessing. Our blessing.
I fully expect The Blessing to live a long and healthy life, but even if she doesn’t she has value.
I fully expect The Blessing to achieve great things, but even if she doesn’t she will contribute to my life and the lives around her just by being with us.
I fully expect The Blessing to prosper in all that she does, even if it doesn’t look like prospering to the world.
I know that whatever her future holds, whether it looks like success to anyone else, she will be successful. Because she has dreams and goals and feelings and desires and dissappointments and failures and successes and preferences and strengths and weaknesses and attitudes and everything else that you and I have. Because she is human.
Her value is not is what she does or how far she climbs. Her value lies in her being. And I fully believe that even if she were to regress to a vegetative state and I were to spend the rest of my life feeding her through a tube and changing her diapers, she still would have immeasurable value. No extra chromosome, no developmental delay, no speech impediment, no amount of physical or mental weakness can change her humanity or diminish her worth.
So while all the Down syndrome advocates are out making a case for the value of these beloved people, I just want to step back and say this one thing that trumps it all.
People with Down syndrome lead happy and productive lives, but that is not why they matter.
People with Down syndrome are capable of great things, but that is not where their worth lies.
People with Down syndrome are people.