I have met so many kiddos, who were born with Down syndrome, on this beautiful road that we've been on since Gavin came into our lives. I have fallen in love with so many of them and I have learned a lot from them in the process! One thing that I have learned from them is that they are such troopers! They persevere though it all.....and usually with a smile on their face!
Not only do these sweet children come with an extra 21st Chromosome, many times they come with serious health conditions. About half of them are born with a heart defect, or some other health concern. And, unfortunately, more than their share end up having to battle an ugly disease called Cancer! Many people with Ds have lots of obstacles to overcome in their life. It's difficult not to question, "WHY?!", sometimes! One answer that always comes to me when I am wondering why these children have to face so much in their lives is this: They provide us with such an amazing lesson in all of their hardships! You will NEVER meet a person who copes with pain and heartache better than a person who has Down syndrome does!
A physical therapist that cared for Gavin in the hospital once told me this: "You know how you feel when you are coming down with an illness? You feel slowed down and achey and just not good. This is how it feels to a person with Ds everyday." People with Ds have to work so much harder just to get through their days and when you add a heart defect or Cancer to the mix....they must feel ROTTEN! But, you would probably never know how rotten they feel, because it's just not in their nature to show it! They are such an example to all of us!
Gavin has been through so much in his short life! He has had many surgeries, many hospitializations, many blood draws, many nebulizer treatments, many illnesses.....but he has been such a trooper through it all! When he has to go in for a blood draw, the person who has to draw his blood always gets a worried look on their face, and they usually call for help from a co-worker. They say to me, "I hate drawing blood from little ones! I feel so bad and they fight me so hard!" I usually say to them, "I feel badly for him too, but don't worry he won't fight you and he will barely flinch either." They don't believe me, but as they go about drawing the blood they always say, "WOW! He takes this so well!" And, he does! He takes everything well and often times with a smile on his face for you! (Of course, there is always the exception....Gavin HATES water and he will let you know this!)
The point that I'm trying to make here is that those with Down syndrome are AMAZING! They can take a lot and they actually make it easier on us, as their parents, to watch them have to suffer.....because they do it all with such grace! I wish people were more aware of the profound lessons that people with Down syndrome have to offer to the world! They have the capability to teach us more than any classroom will ever be able to! So, open your eyes, mind and heart to those with special needs....you might just learn something great!
"The Lord is their strength, and He is the saving refuge of His anointed." Psalm 28:8