World Down Syndrome Day is Friday.
Had I heard about this day before having a daughter with Down syndrome, I may have overlooked it, ignored it, smiled and walked passed it. It certainly wouldn’t have meant as much as it does now, of course. And that’s expected — we all tend to gravitate toward the things that we’ve had personal experience with.
But since having Kate, I’ve realized that, truly, this day is for everyone and anyone — whether or not you have or love someone who has Down syndrome.
The heart of this day is for anyone who is or loves someone who is human.
It’s World We’re-All-Created-Equal Day.
World We-All-Matter Day.
It’s World Don’t-Count-Me-Out Day and World I’ll-Surprise-The-Heck-Out-Of-You Day.
It’s World Different-Is-Great Day. World Be-Yourself Day.
It’s World We-All-Have-Special-Needs Day. And World Wouldn’t-It-Be-Boring-If-We-Were-All-the-Same Day.
It’s World Help-Each Other Day. World Love-Each Other Day. World Serve-Each Other Day. World We’re-All-In-This-Together Day.
It’s a day where we advocate inclusion and awareness of those with Down syndrome — and of all of us.
We are all born to mothers who we hope will love and accept and celebrate us. We are all born to a world where we long to be heard and respected. We all have challenges to overcome and strengths to celebrate — and we all need others to help us along the way.
And on World Down Syndrome Day, it’s a good time to remind ourselves, our children, our friends and family and communities: do not be afraid of what’s different.
Do not underestimate those around you.
Do not count out those who do things in their own unique way in their own unique time.
Encourage. Include. Involve. Accept.
After all, it’s World You-Are-Who-You-Are-Meant-To-Be Day.
I started celebrating World Down Syndrome Day for my daughter, Kate. But now I know: it’s for all of us.