I have to say one of the things I've enjoyed the most about being a part of the phenomenal community of other parents of children of Down Syndrome has to be the access I have to the amazing stories of people living with DS. When Tera was born, and we were still reeling from the news of her diagnosis, it was hard to think of the positive things we would experience with her. We of course were told over and over how everyone had heard that kids with DS were the sweetest, most loving children and as nice as that is to think about, it wasn't quite enough to stop us from thinking that no matter what, she would always be different from other kids around her, and she would be different from what we had imagined for so many years and especially for the last 9 months.
I kept thinking about how Tom and I always saw people with DS as baggers at the grocery store and how at school many of our students with special needs are the ones that go around to all the offices and classrooms and pick up the recycling. And I wondered, and sometimes still do, "Is this what Tera is destined for?" But then I read these stories about these individuals living with DS and what they're capable of it gives me so much hope that Tera will be able to do some of these same things, and even more!
As a teacher, I have the incredible opportunity to influence my students' lives. I'm a decent math teacher, but what I view as my most valuable skill is my ability to form relationships with my students; most notably, my advisory students. I have the privilege (I try to think of it that way most days) of spending four years with these students and with my last two groups of advisory students, I've formed some truly special, lasting, relationships. One of my students, a freshman in college now, has chosen to do a speech about DS because of Tera. In the course of one of my conversations with him about his speech, he told me that he had read some great things about people with DS and that one day he hoped he'd be able to read Tera's story. Not only did it make me cry (it doesn't take much), but I found myself thinking the same thing.
Since she's only 7 months, I'm guessing I'll have to wait a while to see what some of those things might be. Though I have to say, the fact that she has already influenced a college freshman to spend more time on a speech than he may have spent on any other assignment in school so far, just goes to show what she may be capable of.
And so you may be wondering what actually prompted me to make these incredible individuals the subject of this Day 2 post, and so here it is. A link to another one of those very special stories that makes me appreciate that 47th chromosome even more. Enjoy!