It’s true that October is officially over, but we’re going to go with Down Syndrome Awareness posts for a few more days! I decided we really must go into November because TODAY is this dear girl’s very first birthday! Miss Rauri has a very special place in my heart. I introduced many of you to her in September when I shared photos from the Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk. Rauri’s mama, Alexa, was actually one of my English students 10 years ago when I was doing my student teaching near Duluth. When she posted in our local Down syndrome Facebook group a little over a year ago, I knew she seemed familiar. I was thrilled to have this amazing mom in our Down syndrome community! You can follow these girlies on Instagram as @lexxbarnes, on Facebook, and on their blog. Happy first birthday, Rauri!
And I never should have.
She is their missing puzzle piece. And I thank God everyday for the big siblings Rauri has. They’re amazing to her, with her, around her, and have grown leaps and bounds as individuals because of dynamic we have as a family.
I don’t think it would be possible to teach someone everything she has taught me in the last 20 months between her life here with us, earth side and my pregnancy with her combined. She has taught Charlie and I and the kids immeasurable life lessons. What it’s like to see SO FAR beyond someone’s differences to the real treasure trove they are. In fact, by now – there isn’t much I notice about her that IS different. Shes our Rauri girl. She has really good days, really bad days, days she challenges me as a mother, days I drive 20 miles around town just trying to get her to sleep, nights she floods the bathroom while in the tub, nights I sit up nursing her in wonder of how on earth we were chosen, how we got so lucky to be her parents… just like I sat up and wondered with London and Nash. It’s really no different at all.
I will give credit to the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network til my dying day. It was the first true place where I felt safe, where I felt like I was on the same journey as those around me, and thankfully, where I have met some of the best friends a girl could ask for.
I have seen a hashtag over and over lately that reads THE BEST KEPT SECRET (#thebestkeptsecret) and it really truly is. If we were able to see into the life of a family with a child with down syndrome, there wouldn’t be such a fear or stigma about it. A Down syndrome diagnosis is really #thebestkeptsecret.
At the Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk last month ..