I know that there will be days growing up when they feel like maybe they drew the short end of the stick...when they come home in tears because that boy down the street can kick the soccer ball better than they can, or the other kids at school don't have to work as hard as they might have to...but I hope that they can learn to understand that each person is unique and that each person brings something of their own to the table of life. That we each have challenges, some more obvious than others, and that those challenges help to mold us into who we are to become. That life isn't about being perfect, or even the best...it's about being you...and embracing and loving yourself and the world around you.
Because there will always be people there to tell them that they aren't good enough, that they aren't worth it...and I hope that I, as their mother, can instill the courage that they will need to stand up and let the world know that they are.
I write these words, these hopes, while I watch my oldest eat his snack and pretend to play air guitar while listening to a song on the iPad. And I wonder...how much of my perspective about life has been altered because of him. But whatever conclusions I have come to on his behalf, I am thankful for them. I am thankful for the opportunity I have been given to love this tiny person. I am thankful for the opportunity to see a beauty altered from that of society. To see the joy that he takes in the little things in life.
And I know that my hopes and dreams of raising confident and self aware children are largely because they are growing up in a society that believes that children with special needs are a burden on their families and their countries...so much so that it is considered socially acceptable to abort a child with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, at a rate close to 90 percent world wide. They are being raised in a world who idolizes a false ideal, who will tell my children that they are sorry for the ways that they aren't that ideal...who will walk up to a young mother in a grocery store and after apologizing for that mother's child will ask if she has ever considered giving her child up for adoption (this recently happened to a friend).
And I need my children to know that the world is not their idol...that false realities and visions of perfection are not their goals...that they have been given everything in this life that they need to succeed and that they will succeed. So that when something happens...because it will, and the world tries to knock them on their back, they will respond like that above mentioned young mother did when she told the world of the blessing that her "imperfect" child is, that her life is fulfilling and that he is just as deserving of the love of a family as anyone else...that they will have resolve and comfort in knowing that all humans are valuable, and here to be loved....including themselves.