Down Syndrome Awareness Month

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Aware is a funny word if you say it lots of times.

I kept saying the word over and over in my head while thinking about what I wanted to write in this post. Aware, aware, aware…

There are a lot of reasons that it’s good to make people aware of Down syndrome. So that they’re more comfortable with a prenatal diagnosis. So that we can improve statistics of the 90%. So that inclusion and acceptance of everyone’s differences becomes commonplace. So that old stereotypes are broken.

But that’s not what I want to write about in this post.

Because I think the power of people with Down syndrome is not so much that they make us aware of them — but that they make us more aware of ourselves. Of each other.

Like looking both ways when you cross the road or thinking before you speak or knowing when you just need a nap, being aware prevents us from getting hurt. It heals. It teaches. It makes us better.

And that’s what Kate does for me.

Because of her, I am more aware that:

Every person has infinite worth. A worth that we cannot measure by wealth or fame or worldly success.

Anybody can change the world. Whether you’re President or a preacher or a small-town grocery store cashier — no act of good is too small.

There is a plan bigger than our blueprint. No matter how much we plan our day-to-day lives, there is a higher power in control of it with much grander plans than our own.

As we approach Kate’s second birthday, I don’t think about Down syndrome in itself much anymore with “acute awareness.” It doesn’t really affect our lives, Kate’s just our little girl with unique needs like all of our children. But what I am aware of — every day — is how blessed I am because of it.

So for me, Down Syndrome Awareness Month is not about counting chromosomes — but counting blessings. And that’s something we could all be more aware of.


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