Monday, October 1, 2012

Awareness

Pst...Have you heard? Today marks the beginning of Down syndrome Awareness Month. I've been reminded of that throughout the day, as I periodically checked my Facebook newsfeed and saw several friends of mine posting wonderful things about their children with Down syndrome. I started thinking about what my post would include tonight, and what "Down syndrome awareness" actually means. So, I started with the dictionary.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, to be aware means, "having knowledge or perception of a situation or fact." I thought that was a wonderful explanation. After reading that it made me realize that this has been what my whole blogging "project" has been about. Sure, when I set out on this adventure I wanted to share my pretty spectacular kid because she is loving, caring, and hilarious. I knew that she brightened my day, so I figured I would share the joy, but I also had another motive. I wanted to everyone to see how incredibly normal our life is. 

We have always made the distinction that Abby has Down syndrome, and not that she is Down syndrome....there's a difference. It is a part of who she is, just like her beautiful eyes and her will of iron, but it is not who she is. Now there are some days when her eyes stand out a bit more than usual, or days when she exerts her will with a touch more force, and likewise there are also days when I "notice" her Down syndrome, but honestly those days are few and far between. She's Abby first. That's what I want people to understand above all. Have I been successful in the 217 days that I've been writing about her? Well, if one person changes their minds about someone who may be different than they are, or if one new parent who recently found out that their child has Down syndrome gains a new understanding of what that may mean...then I have succeeded. 

...Or maybe I should say that Abby has succeeded - because she is really the one that is changing minds, simply by being her wonderful self. So, I've decided that in order to celebrate DS Awareness Month I'm simply going to continue on as I have been - delivering funny Abby-isms, writing about charming Abby antics, showing beautiful Abby pictures, and sharing the odd "off" day when Abby's crankiness rules. I figure that this would be the best way to create a "knowledge or perception" of our "situation" - and to add a bit more joy to your days.

When Abby got home from school she decided that
our front porch looked an awful lot like a stage, so
here she is instructing me that it was "showtime". 

Then it was my turn to put on a show, so Abby
made sure that she had a front row seat. I did
make sure that none of the neighbors were out
before I started dancing.

I was merely the opening act for the headliner. 

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