Family, Siblings

A New Year: Perspectives on life with Down syndrome

I know we are already well into 2011. And I realize I haven’t posted since December. (sigh) It’s February and everyone in Ohio is ready for Spring. For some reason I really don’t mind the snow. Our pace on the weekends slow down in the winter and we have more time to drink tea, play games, and make pictures. Yes, our sons get stir-crazy but that’s why the snow is great – you can still send kids outside in snow, but not into drizzly, gray, mud-mess yards (unless you’re desperate).

This holiday season we didn’t do a lot. No elaborate outings or parties to attend. We spent time together – all six siblings, plus a wonderful sister-in-law, my parents, my husband and our sons. Best of all we didn’t have to travel outside of Cincinnati. We enjoyed time together as a family. People think our family must be different from others with three of its members having Down syndrome. It’s really not. We have the same sibling squabbles. We get life updates. And now that April and Jacob are older, we actually get to have some meaningful conversations.

My parents, three sibs, and I went to the DSAGC Winter Dance last weekend. My dad and I sat with an amazing couple who have three children, the youngest with DS. We shared about what it’s like to live (and sometimes be outnumbered by) people with DS in one home. Well, it’s pretty darn close to a family without children with DS. Only more silly, more musical (filled with more Disney music than we care to admit), and wait for it … more communicative.

Wait. More communication?

Yes. More communication. My siblings are very engaging. Even though grammar is not their strong suit, talking, signing, and singing sure are! They love to talk about their personal interests and want to include you.

Welcoming.

That would be a good description for my siblings (most days – they are human after all). In dictionary terms: hospitable, accessible, or my favorite, “without obligation for the courtesy or favor received“. Which makes me think about life – do these words describe us? Do we engage others? Do we stop and listen to music together? Do we listen to each other patiently? Do we share our successes and failures with those we love? Do we do things for others with no expectation of personal gain? These are just a few things April, Jake, and yes even Sam are teaching me to meditate on, embrace, and share through my new year.

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2 thoughts on “A New Year: Perspectives on life with Down syndrome”

  1. “without obligation for the courtesy or favor received”… I LOVE THAT! That is what our society is missing these days! Boy am I glad I was lucky enough to be given a child with Down syndrome to bring unselfish love, respect and overall joy back into my life. Looks like you’ve got the same!

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