This is the first question I have received, it is from Ann.
"My daughter is 14 months old and in that short time, I have met so many wonderful people who have offered advice. These encounters happen on vacation and in different towns, upon seeing another child with down syndrome we introduce ourselves. Every person I have met has given one concise great "tip" that was most meaningful to them in caring for their children. Topics include massage, discipline, education... perhaps it is because it is just the passing of "strangers" (although really friends in this journey) there has only been time for one piece of advice. If you were to give one piece of advice, what would it be?"
Do not compare your child with Down syndrome to any other children. Not to other typical children, and not to other children with Down syndrome.
I find myself walking into situations where I unconsciously allow myself to start going down that road. For example, I walk into a room where one of my friends is playing with her baby. Her baby is standing holding on to her moms leg at 11 months, while Nichole at 17 months has just started to consider trying.
As soon as I feel myself cringe inside I stop and remind myself of the most important thing there is to know when it comes to BOTH my daughters. My children are not my children, they belong to God, they are His, and He has entrusted me with their lives. They are daughters of the King, and He made them fearfully and wonderfully. Both of them, are a work of art of the Creator, a masterpiece. Perfect, and created just like they were intended to be. God does not make mistakes.
Then I ask myself some questions.
Do I wish Nichole was different? Typical? No
Do I recent the fact that her development is delayed? No
Does it really matter when she starts to walk? No
Have I enjoyed her more than I though I ever could because she has taken longer to move through stages of development? Yes
Has she taught me more in her lifetime than anyone else has taught me in mine? Yes
Does she inspire love in people? Yes
Has she shown us more about what pure love, kindness, gentleness, joy, patience are? Yes
Has she taught us about what really matters in life? Yes
Am I a different person because of her? Because of what others might see as a disability? Yes
Does she allow me to see shades of color that I never knew were possible? Yes
Is she God's hands in my life? Many times she has been
It would not be fair for me to compare Nichole to anyone else. She will do things in her own time. And it is perfectly fine!
The same way, it would not be fair for me to compare my oldest daughter with anyone else either. She is perfect the way she is too.