The 21st March is World Downs Syndrome day. I’ve truly enjoyed watching some heart-warming videos and memes around the place, emphasising the beauty of Downs Syndrome.
I’ve been blessed to have an Uncle who has Downs. He’s just turned 50!
I guess, like a lot of people, it would be easy to talk about the serendipitous joys being associated with Downs. Their simplistic beauty. Their smiles. Small mercies and blessings.
What I don’t think we celebrate is those who care for these amazing people.
I think of my grandparents, who have dedicated their lives to enriching not just my Uncles life, but the lives of many with disabilities. Certainly, looking after a child with Downs is more than a full time job – especially when the parent has other children, their spouses and themselves to look after. The hours waiting in hospital waiting rooms. The anxious waits during surgery. The painstaking task of educating these precious children. Being on ‘first name’ terms with a multitude of medical specialists. The dedication when, yet another night is disturbed with the sound of your child choking, the panic, the rush to emergency.
As much as it’s a delight to be with and watch my Uncle, I can honestly say I’ve learned the most from my Grandparents about Downs. I’ve learned from them about treating EVERYONE with love, dignity and respect, regardless of who they are. They’ve taught me to be love the uncontrollable boy with autism. Love the precious Downs girl who just wants to show off her new pink hair ribbon.
I was at the park this morning with my children. While I was there, a Downs boy of about three was there, with his Grandmother. I had a brief chat to her about how beautiful and lively her lovely Grandson was. In glowing terms, she gushed over her precious boy, and in a closing remark told me “I can’t believe that so many of these precious children are aborted”.
I’m not here to jot my thoughts on abortion, save for that each of these precious children are a gift. A gift that not every family might be able to accept, but a precious gift never the less.
I’m proud of this gift that my Grandparents have given our family – the gift of loving everyone, regardless of their ability.