Today is a special day! And it’s not just because it’s Big Bird’s 42nd birthday. (By the way, he’s aged beautifully, hasn’t he?). Today is World Down Syndrome Day! And to celebrate, we wanted to share one of our favorite anecdotes from our imperfect book, Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid as well as some heartfelt personal stories from our Facebook page from people who have been touched by Down syndrome,
Excerpt from Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid
Gina will never forget a joy she and other parents witnessed one day while watching a high school freshman team play basketball. She was there to see Katie’s (her daughter with Asperger’s) friend Jake play and was sitting in the stands with Jake’s parents, Juli and Bob, and their friends. The game was close, and the parents were all tense, especially when Jake’s team started losing. When the other team pulled away, their coach sent a child with Down’s syndrome into the game. The entire gym, including both teams, stood still watching him.
With just a few minutes left in the game, the child with Down syndrome got the ball. His defender, a solid and aggressive player, took a small step backward. It wasn’t an obvious step – but just enough to show his heart, and his desire to see this child shoot. Recognizing this opportunity, the boy with Down syndrome, raised the ball over his head and released a perfect shot that swished through the center of the net.
The entire gym, including all of Jake’s team (the opponents) stood up and cheered. Then, we watched as the boy ran off the court onto the sidelines and into the arms of another child with Down’ syndrome on the junior varsity team who was waiting for him.
As Gina looked around the gym, through her tear-stained eyes, she saw people grinning from ear-to-ear and high-fiving each other. In that brief and beautiful moment, those two boys gave the entire crowd a tremendous gift. They reminded us that life is not about winning, it’s about having a winning heart.
After the game, Gina went down to talk to Jake, who had a big grin on his face, despite his team’s bad loss to their rivals.
“Gene,” he said. “Did you see that kid’s shot? And when he went to hug his friend? Wasn’t it awesome?”
“It sure was, Jake. That was a SportsCenter moment.”
How have you been touched by Down Syndrome?
We posed this question today on our Facebook page, and wanted to share some of the beautiful responses:
Kristina: “My step brother (just 3 months younger than I am!) has down syndrome. I know many children and adults through our local Miracle League that also have DS. I love them ALL!
Patty: “My friend Barbara’s son has Down Syndrome and he is so special to me. He is always open and accepting. He loves to give hugs and to say hello! He’s open to challenges and is now working at a Starbucks. I’m proud to know him! I consider him my friend.”
Emily: “My cousin was Down Syndrome. Growing up we had so much fun playing at family BBQ’s…then she got Luekemia and passed away. She will always be beautiful, she will always be young and she will always be in my heart!!!! Love you Becca!!!”
Christana: “My son Logan has Down Syndrome, he will be 11 in May and he rocks his extra chromosome 😉 He has taught me a lot of things and Im so proud to be his Momma!! *Happy World Down Syndrome Day.*”
Shonda: “My first experience w/early intervention was as a personal aid for a toddler w/DS– he (and a little buddy of his) were the sweetest most loving kiddos I’ve EVER worked with~ they didn’t judge anyone and had the sweetest disposition.”
Peggy: “My daughter was born after we had 6 miscarriages. We called her lucky number 7. (which multiplied by 3 equals 21 btw) Her Down syndrome was a total surprise but she has been a joy to so many. (as much of a joy as any 7 year old can be some days) :o)”
Do you have a story to share about how Down syndrome has touched your life? Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day by sharing it.
To learn more about World Down Syndrome Day, click here.