Saturday, September 15, 2012

Buddy Walk!

Funnest time ever!

Gosh... The Buddy Walk.  It is such a happy, wonderful event.  My mouth still hurts from smiling so much.  A special day to honor our son who has Down Syndrome, and hang out with all the wonderful people who we have had the opportunity to get to know because of Charlie coming into our lives.  I mean really, with statistics like these, how can Buddy Walk day not be awesome:

• 99% of people with Down syndrome said they were happy with their lives
• 97% of people with Down syndrome liked who they are
• 99% of parents said they love their child with Down syndrome
• 97% of brothers/sisters, ages 9-11, said they love their sibling
(As seen on the blog of Dr. Brian Skotko.)

Man of the hour.

We always end up talking a lot more than taking pictures at this event, but we got a couple.  Charlie, as is his way, was overwhelmed at the start of the event... he sort of despises being the center of attention (when not at home with his family, where he revels in being "class clown").  But after a while he got into it, played, walked, had a great time with friends.

The Extrovert, and Down Syndrome sibling extraordinaire.  Exciting news from this kid coming soon!

We had the blessing and opportunity to meet three new families with the most beautiful and scrumptuous babies with Down Syndrome--two precious girls, and one baby boy with roly-poly arms just like Charlie's were.... be still my heart.  Praise the Lord for giving good gifts!  And we were delighted to see some of the aids who worked with Charlie at his former preschool...  Thank you for coming!  It was so great to see friendly, dear faces (even if Charlie did not let on at first ;)

Sleeping?  Nope.  Just avoiding attention. Hmm... I see an Introvert, Extrovert, Introvert pattern being established here.

What do you say to a new parent in a few brief minutes visit between festivities and speeches? Oh, they have no idea how much I ache to hold their little ones, to laugh with joy and give my heartfelt, exuberant Congratulations!!!  Down Syndrome.  It's a challenge in many ways.  But most of all... it is the foremost blessing in my life.  I love each of my boys in the same mountain-sized, ocean-deep way, mind you.  I hope you know I mean that sincerely.  I am deeply grateful for, proud of, amazed by Calvin, Miles, and Charlie, individually, and together as brothers and sons.  But that little Down Syndrome bit...  it is hard to describe just what it is to me... to us.  It is pure blessing.  Like this random and rare thing that happened to us, that defined us as a family... only it was not random, but on purpose.  And it's good.  It's a joy that reaches beyond understanding, and grows and grows as I watch Charlie grow, as I watch the ways Charlie is shaping Calvin and Miles, and Calvin and Miles are Charlie, and the ways Down Syndrome calls Ray and I as parents to be more... more intentional, more steady, more peaceful, more patient, more forgiving, more joyful, more lighthearted, more flexible, more compassionate, more inventive, more silly.  So...

Congratulations new local Down Syndrome parents and families!  We are beyond happy for your blessings!  Welcome to this community!  (And thank you for letting me feast my hungry eyes on your sweet, darling littles.  They are all so cute!)


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