My friend Amy has a blog about her children Emma and Joseph. Joseph has Down Syndrome. He is in Daniel's Thursday swimming and Emma is Zachary's age and are in class together at school. Emma and Zachary share a strong bond since they are both growing up as "the siblings". They both have the traits of the siblings of kids with special needs of, among other things, a huge amount of empathy, being kind to everyone, not understand when people aren't kind to everyone, and just all 'round great kids.
Joseph is a JOY. Adorable, smart, and makes everyone around him smile. He is a mover and shaker though and his parents do a wonderful job keeping up with him. They share everything 50/50 and are great people themselves. Our friendship has certainly grown since that first day when Emma and Zachary were in Kindergarten together. In our school the parent or parents come in with them for a few hours and then all go home together. The real first day is sort of the second day, and on that first day I remember the moment I met Amy. I was a wreck. I was sort of crying. As usual I wasn't crying because my baby was starting kindergarten. No, as usual it had to do with Daniel. Zachary's first day was being overshadowed by a sudden change in Daniel's schedule. His parapro (aide) that he'd had for a year and a half was suddenly bumped (due to seniority and union issues) and my world and his was immediately turned upside down. I was scared. I didn't know what we were going to get. It turned out great, but it's one of the moments of fear and all of your planning goes out the window and you are left feeling helpless.
Amy started talking to me and told me she has a child with Down Syndrome and it was just one of those times when you think "Thank God" because you know that they understand too. They feel in their heart the same way you do. They aren't just trying to say the right things. They know. I'm very thankful that I met this family on that day. Down syndrome is something that is personal to me too. My best friend growing up had a sister with DS. I was officially the 8th child in their house and practically lived there. I was an only child and I loved being immersed in the hectic household. Lisa considered me her sister and I consider that quite a privilege to be accepted that way. I volunteered at Special Olympics as a teen when Lisa was a part of it. Once I had the privilege of pinning the ribbons on the winners as they stood on top of the podium. It's one of my favorite memories from that time in my life. The joy, pride and exhilaration the athletes felt was palpable. It filled me with the same emotions. Because of her, special education was always a part of my life. Little did I know that it would always be a part of my life, for the rest of my life.
This is a very long way to let you know that Amy posted a story from the Boston Globe the other day. It touched my heart so I wanted to share it. Even after the week I've had, I still feel blessed. Every single day. Even with toilets overflowing, my migraines flaring up and hardly being able to take Daniel perseverating seemingly louder and louder every moment while my head is about to explode last night. The feeling that I had to get away so my head could get quiet. QUIET. I still lay my head down every night thankful for the day I've had with my family. So I hope you enjoy this.
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