When people ask how my life has changed since we met our little Samuel 16 months ago, I tend to get a bit teary. I don’t know how exactly to put words to the emotions I have for what we have experienced. There have certainly been ups and downs and a few unknowns. I wrote about some of the emotions tied to that in a post about learning to trust when Sam was just a couple months old. Many more months have passed, and we are still learning to trust every single day, but things feel smoother now. We’re more comfortable with the unkowns, and I have no doubt that Samuel is the one teaching us how to trust through those moments.
We don’t dismiss the things that make our Samuel a unique, beautiful little boy. He has Down syndrome. That is simply a part of who he is. But it’s not all he is, and that’s what we focus on each and every day. There was a time when I wondered if I would look into his eyes and not think, “My son has Down syndrome.” I don’t know when I reached that time, but it has happened. I now look into his big, bright, blue eyes and see so much potential. I see his joy. I see a boy who wants to learn and grow and experience the world as he is meant to experience it.
Who says we’re all supposed to experience the world a specific way, anyway? We’re each so incredibly unique. I’m excited to see how Sam gets to see the world. I want him to teach me how he experiences each moment. He’s already been doing that in so many ways. I’m learning to slow down, to not be so set on a standard timeline of achievement, and to enjoy the process of reaching goals. And then, when the goal is accomplished, to really celebrate. To share with everyone that we’ve accomplished something spectacular. Something that most of the world may see as ordinary, but to us, through the eyes of my Samuel, it is something truly amazing.
And who wouldn’t want to experience the world that way? I want to see beauty in simple things. I want to celebrate little moments rather than only making a big deal over the big stuff.
Recently, we’ve had a lot to celebrate. A few weeks ago, Sam started sitting on his own. He is such a strong boy, but his tummy muscles needed a little more practice with staying up. He gets so excited to sit up and play with toys now, especially when Ella is playing along with him. He is also waving with both hands and clapping. He loves to stand with a little assistance and is getting really good at holding onto objects to stand on his own. He works very hard at physical therapy each week and is doing so well with occupational therapy (his fine motor skills) that he only has to go every few weeks now instead of every week. Soon we’ll begin speech therapy, too.
Can I tell you the REALLY exciting thing?! He has said his first word! The greatest thing is what the actual word is. ELLA. Yes, Ella! The first time we heard it, she had just left the room where the two of them were playing. He yelled after her, which sounded like her name, but we weren’t sure until he said it a couple more times. Now he says it quite often. Earlier today, Pete got home with Ella after preschool and I said to Sam, “Ella’s home!” Right away, he yelled, “ELLA!” It’s adorable. I’m still trying to catch it on video. When I do, I’ll be sure to post it.
We’ve been blessed in a way we never imagined. That’s exactly why we are really celebrating Down Syndrome Awareness this month. If you’d like to learn more about Down syndrome, check out the National Down Syndrome Society resource page. Also, I’ll soon be posting links to other blogs and FAQ pages with lots of information on Down syndrome.
I am currently working on a couple really big projects that I can’t wait to share with all of you! They both make me so giddy that I wish I could just tell you everything right now, but I don’t feel I would do them justice if I did that. One will be revealed very soon, so check back! The other will take a couple months, but it’s going to be BIG.
And no, for all you who are just so curious, neither project includes anything having to do with a baby. (That comment is mostly for you, Mom.)
I hope you’re enjoying the fall as much as we are!