For one minute, I am going to step away from the yellow and blue pom poms and I'm going to whine. Just for a second. Because sometimes, having Down syndrome isn't fair. People ask me all the time if, given the choice, would I take it away from Kennedy. And I wouldn't. Because while I do not believe that Down syndrome defines her, it IS a part of who she is. If she were not born with Down syndrome, she wouldn't be HER.
She also wouldn't have to work SO DANG HARD at every freaking thing she does EVERY single day. I watch her struggle in school... to read, to write, to keep up with her friends, and she's close. She's so close. And she's doing a GREAT job, but she knows she has to work twice as hard to do what everyone else is doing. And it's frustrating for her.
I listen to her when she comes home and says things like, "I was in PE, but I just. couldn't. do it." Her favorite class. She loves it. And I know her friends encourage her. And I'm sure she's close. And I want to tell her, "Baby, I can't make those baskets either." But sometimes that just doesn't make a difference.
I watch her struggle in dance. Something she LOVES more than anything else in the world. She wants to get it JUST right. She watches herself in the mirror. She practices in her room. Every day. And she's SO close. But she knows it's not quite perfect. She knows she's good, but maybe just not good enough. And sometimes, that hurts.
Sometimes I see my daughter through the eyes of the rest of the world. They see Down syndrome. And that's not fair. They want to put her in this box and say, "She can't." I see this beautiful, smart, amazing, self-confident, talented little girl who can do anything she sets her mind to. I have NO doubt about that. She has worked harder at everything every day of her 8 years of life than I have in my 33 years, and sometimes it's STILL not good enough and that just sucks. Some days it makes me want to scream. Often it makes me cry.
I will brush the tears away. Like I always do. I will pick up my blue and yellow pom poms once again and I will pick Kennedy up from school in a little while. And when the "world" tells her that she's not good enough, that she's not smart enough, that she's SO close, but maybe not close enough, I will pull her tight and make sure she knows that she is always the VERY best Kennedy in the whole wide world and I'm so proud of her for working so much harder at life than anyone I know.
Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month