Celebrating the Differences: Our Teachers are Everywhere

Part of my journey has been opening myself to love in all its glorious guises. As my mother went deeper into Alzheimer’s, I also feel we went deeper into love, the kind of true emotion that goes beyond words.

I am now deeply in love with another amazing person, my granddaughter Annabelle Rose, who doesn’t yet have the words to express her feelings but whose  ability to connect is truly inspiring. 1378651_10151736173247955_1493338418_n

My daughter Sarah wrote this note to Annabelle and I wanted to share it with you. It really captures the essence of how we can appreciate, learn from and celebrate what is extra and unique about every one of us.



Sarah’s  Journal Entry: October 1, 2013

Today marks the first day of Down Syndrome Awareness month — the first time that I have been aware, as it is Annabelle’s first October. Here is my wish:

Dear Annabelle,

I hope you recognize that having an extra chromosome makes you extra special. I do not want to define you by that addition to your DNA, nor do I wish to minimize the impact that it will have on your life. I believe that you will be able to accomplish great and amazing things. I hope to help you find your passion and to express yourself in every way. I want for you what I want for your brother. I will do everything that I can to give you a solid foundation — early intervention and love.  1376987_10151736175542955_1503456887_n

I have celebrated the last 7 months, expressing gratitude for my healthy and happy baby girl. I did not expect a girl. You are a blessing. Being different does not diminish or change that fact. I imagine life will be more of a challenge for you because of that fact. I hope to protect you from any cruelty or ignorance. I will work hard to educate and advocate. I am aware of Down Syndrome. It is with us everyday.  But this month, I aim to celebrate.

I believe that you will teach us just as we teach you. I have been forced to put my education and training into practice. I cannot live in the future — none of us knows what it will hold. However, we can plan, prepare, and then be mindful of this moment. Each moment with you is filled with joy and wonder — the sweetness of your smile, the magic of your laugh. I love to be with you. I love to help you get stronger and develop new skills. We are being trained, and the information is amazing. We will learn how to help you in the best possible ways. You have a team dedicated to your health, happiness, and future.

You are different, but you are the same.  You have an extra chromosome. You also have the same 46 that we have. You have a patience and sweetness that is hard to define. You have an interest in people and the world around you.  You stay awake to watch and observe, refusing to miss any action by napping. When you sleep, you sleep with abandon. You often “talk” during this time.  I could write for hours about how much I love you and all the special things that you do.

Your mom.



Photo Credits, Ann Brown