March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day, 3/21 representing 3 copies of the 21st chromosome. For me, I have complicated emotions. Sure, Ashley has the physical facial features that identify her as having Down syndrome. But with her additional disabilities related to her brain injury, she has so much more to deal with. And there’s no World Hypoxia Following Open Heart Surgery Cuz It’s Difficult Day so we’ll go with today’s designation.
But to generalize any of our children related to one particular talent or disability is for me missing the point. Each of our children are woven into these amazing individuals, much of it related to the miracle of “genes.” And for each thread I am thankful because every strand of DNA makes each of us special. For Ashley, beneath all the medical complications, maybe there is a woman with “just Down syndrome?” We’ll never know. But that still wouldn’t define her any more than her brain injury does. She’s Ashley, she’s awesome, and we love her dearly. And the lessons she teaches us are invaluable. We all just have to be willing to learn and to support one another for our “sameness,” but more importantly for our differences. I think that’s what today is all about.