There are a lot of random “holidays” on the national and international calendar.
Holidays devoted to specific causes and prominent people. Or entire months devoted to food (did you know that January is “apple and apricots” month?) And for the most part, we only know about these random celebrations because we have some part in them. Because someone we love has survived breast cancer (National Cancer Survivors Day, June 5). Or you happen to write with your left hand (International Lefthanders’ Day, August 13). Or you have a cousin who works at Sea World (Shamu the Whale Day, September 26).
And today — a day that I would’ve never thought about until recently — is World Down Syndrome Day. A day that takes place on the 21st of March every year, representing the 3 copies of chromosome 21, which is unique to people with Down syndrome.
I noticed it on a friend’s status message on Facebook. She is also the mom of a kiddo with Down Syndrome — a 4-year-old boy. Before I had Kate, I wouldn’t have thought much about her status message – well, I take that back. Before I had Kate, I didn’t know her. It is because of Kate that I was connected with her – and continue to be connected to wonderful families around the world who share this common experience. We were chosen to receive the gift of a special little baby with a special gift of their own: an extra chromosome.
I sometimes wonder why we have to have a “day” for things like this. But today, I know why. It is to celebrate the connection. It is an excuse to post pictures and write blog posts and share stories and connect in even bigger ways with an even bigger audience about the small differences that make humans so wonderful.
And so today, I say: Happy World Down Syndrome Day! To my baby girl, to the ones who love her – and to all the people she will inspire along the way.