Palm Sunday 2010
The kids griped about posing for a photo in the same place for three years in a row. But, I think it's cool to see how much they've changed. In the bottom photo, Greta was just turning 3 and often refused to smile for photos. John Michael, still in that cuddly baby stage, just thought the swing rope was pretty cool. Nic and Anna were in 5th and 3rd grades, and already big helpers with the younger two.
A year later, Greta is all smiles and John Michael has grown out of his baby stage and morphed into a cute, crawling towhead. Nic and Anna had matured as well. This was the start of a fun year, really living and feeling comfortable in our new world of having a child with Down syndrome. We've met so many great local and online families since a year ago around Easter. To date, I have at least 140 "friends" on Facebook that have a child with Ds. Most of whom I've not met, but feel a deep connection to. It's so strange, but wonderful... this amazing Ds community.
Fast forward another year... to today. Greta is almost 5, counting to 100 and spelling a bunch of 3 letter words. John Michael is 28 months old and quite the toddler, walking, running, climbing up and the down the slide, kicking a ball, and is full of love and life. Anna and Nic continue to mature and become more and more responsible and independent. We've immersed ourselves in the Ds world... being comfortable in our roles as advocates, talking to a couple schools about Ds and the r-word, facilitating a mom and dad sharing session through the local DSIA, meeting moms with newly diagnosed babies and welcoming them into our fold, helping a friend raise money to adopt a child from eastern Europe who also has Down syndrome. The list goes on...
I asked Nic tonight if he ever thought about John Michael having Down syndrome. He said he doesn't notice. John Michael does so much and it's only when we compare him to a typical child at the same age that we actually notice his "delays." But to us, he continues to grow and reach milestones that we don't think of him as "delayed." It's only society that places those labels on him. I know we will continue to experience great things as a result of haivng John Michael in our lives. I still hear from parents that tell me their son or daughter was positively affected by my talk on Down syndrome and the r-word! That's awesome! You never know if you'll touch someone or if they'll just roll their eyes at you and think "whatever..." Hopefully, we're reaching more of those who will be touched and in turn will touch others in a positive way.