A few days ago I posted on Facebook that Down Syndrome and I were once again at odds. You see, Tera's extra chromosome and I have a love/hate relationship. I love my daughter and so in part, I have to love her having DS as well. It's a part of her. But what I don't have to love is the challenges that it presents to her. Do I think it will make her a stronger person? Yes. Do I think she will always overcome those challenges? Yes. Do I have to like that she has so many challenges already? No. Do I think it will make me a better mom than I would have been otherwise? Not always. It's hard. It's really hard. For her and for us.
I don't like that she is three and a half and still in the 2's room at daycare. But she hasn't quite mastered the prerequisites for moving up yet. I don't like that throwing objects, all sorts of objects, is still a problem that we face with her. I don't like that she is still struggling with potty training. I don't like that she sometimes seems to lack the ability to refrain from hitting people when frustrated. I don't like that she is unable to communicate all her wants and needs verbally to everyone. And I don't like that I don't have the answers to fixing these problems.
What does make me feel better is that she is learning these skills. At school they talk about different feelings and they work with her on the best ways to express those feelings. They ask for our input on what works at home and how they can implement that in the classroom and we do the same thing. It really does take a village with that kid.
So Down Syndrome, here we are. I love that you have brought awareness and more love than we ever imagined to our family. But I don't love that my daughter has to work so very, very hard for so many things that other kids, and parents, take for granted. I love that you have made me cherish and appreciate so much more, her accomplishments. But I don't love that it takes her so long to reach some of them no matter how hard she tries. I know you're not going anywhere, and some days, weeks, months, and years that will be harder for me to accept than other times. It's still hard to see Tera around other typical kids and know how she's different from them. But it also makes me so proud to see how far she's come.
Today marks the first day of October and the beginning of Down Syndrome Awareness Month. This is the first year since Tera has been born that I won't be in the classroom to spread awareness to my students. But I can continue doing it through this blog and the girls' Facebook page. I am going to say right now that I'm admitting my lack of time right now and not even going to try to promise 31 days of blogging this year, but I will try to post something every day for the rest of the month to show my love for Tera and her extra chromosome, and all the other very special people and families we know because of it as well. So please check in daily to see what you might learn and consider sharing some of that information with the people around you. It's a lot harder to feel scared and uncomfortable with something you know more about and that's what this month is for.