For months last year, as we were working through what having a child with Down syndrome meant, we were very micro focused. It's hard to see the forest for the tree sometimes. And we were definitely seeing the trees only. Sometimes only one tree at a time. For a bit, it seemed like life was never going to be the same. There are things, though, that have happened recently that never really entered my mind to remind me that our life is quite often the same as it would have been with or without Down syndrome.
The big thing that I encountered recently is.....VACATION! I am blessed to have a really [EXTRA]ordinary set of in-laws. Although my husband's parents are no longer with us, he has some wonderful Aunts and Uncles who are a big part of our lives. And he has fabulous sisters. They are funny, caring, compassionate and they really love the kids. So this past week was family vacation. We participated first in the Scheerer Family Reunion in Atlanta and then we went to North Carolina to a cabin in the woods for a week. (Where I had intended on blogging, but we had no wireless access or cell service). We had a really wonderful time with everyone (save for a few panicked moments from me about scheduling and packing!).
We had a similar vacation in the Smoky Mountains when Eden was about 19 months old, just a few months older than what Wyatt is now.
As we were getting ready to go hiking one afternoon, Josh turned to me to say, "When I think about where Eden was when we took her on vacation and where Wyatt is now, I really see a difference."
I acknowledged his moment of awareness of Wyatt's delays. "Yes," I said and continued, "but Eden was 3 months older and alot can happen in those 3 months!"
"True," he answered matter-of-factly.
That conversation really got me thinking. Yes, Wyatt has delays. BUT - when planning this vacation, Down syndrome never really entered my mind. I mean, it was just a given: Wyatt was going with us. We didn't have to make any special arrangements, make any special food (other than you would have to modify slightly for any 16 month old), and we didn't worry about the fact that he's not walking. We just went right along like everything was completely the same as it was when we took Eden on that previous vacation. I did nothing different to prepare.
We were able to do lots of great things, like go to the Georgia Aquarium, go hiking (with Wyatt in the same hiking backpack we used for Eden a few years ago), go gem mining, relax, make Clover necklaces, go into town for dinner, make s'mores and generally have a good time. See below for some pictures from our first family vacation as a family of four!
I know it sounds so simple, but this vacation is a case where things that never really entered my mind have made me FULLY aware that Down syndrome is not an interruption to our lives. Sometimes it takes some alternative routes, and sometimes things take a little longer or require a little more effort, but it doesn't interrupt the natural flow of our lives. We can do all the [EXTRA]ordinary things with our lives that we would have done anyhow. I think it's important for people to know this. Especially since there are so many tests and things out there to identify the chromosomal abnormality early. Some people use these tests for education and preparation. Some people, or most rather, use them for selection of the fittest.
What a bummer it would be if Wyatt wasn't in this world. His smile brightens many of our days and his laugh is infectious!
The truth of the matter is: Wyatt is more like other kids than he is not. And although Down syndrome has brought us [EXTRA]ordinary new friends, personal growth and experiences, life isn't all that different at the end of the day. And that is something that doesn't always enter my mind, but is a thought of great importance.
For more on diagnostic testing for Down syndrome, please, click HERE.
|Eden and I (with Great Uncle Dan to the far left) on a boat!|
|Aunt Kelly points out fish to Eden at the Georgia Aquarium|
|Wyatt is super excited watching the fish at the Georgia Aquarium|
|Great Aunt Carol with Eden and Wyatt|
|Josh and Wyatt ready to go!|
|Josh and the kids at our Waterfall hike|
|"Hey baby, what's up?" Wyatt is stylin' for our dinner out the last night of vacation!|