By Silvia Calderón
When I started writing this article, I was thinking about sharing all the wonderful things I’ve learned, but suddenly, these last two and a half weeks taking care of my daughter has been more challenging than usual, reminding me about the tough lessons I have learned as well as the good ones.
1. They are not “earth angels”
It is very common to hear that people with Down Syndrome are earth angels who choose special women to be their mothers, but the truth is that these children are born to regular families with regular people who have chosen to fight and be strong. We chose this life, so that these children can achieve the goals needed to close the gap between their needs and their strengths… And eventually, as a parent, you’ll find out that you become a little more patient, stronger, and braver than you were before they arrive into your family’s life.
2. They are not “eternal children”
I’ve realized that I didn’t know anything about Down Syndrome before giving birth to my daughter. I had this misconception that they are like eternal children because they are so naïve: they cannot know if you are making fun of them – they will laugh with you -, or if you run away from them, they’ll chase you thinking that you are playing. But the truth is that they are just people who want to be accepted, loved, and treated equally. They want to get married, have their own children, and yes, they have so much love (and hugs) to give.
3. They ARE the best teachers
My daughter is a perfect example. She is a sweet 9-year-old with a very strong personality. She can be a ray of sun when she is happy, and she loves hugging and talking to strangers in public, but when she wakes up in a bad mood, you just want the day to end as soon as possible. She is not always happy, she can have behave badly, get really mad, and she is always challenging us; she can be very stubborn. And yet, so far, she has been my very best teacher in life. She has taught me that you can spend 20 minutes staring at a spider web, or picking different types of sticks, and marvel at the feeling of the air blowing in my face, these little things that most people take for granted on a regular basis.
People don’t suffer from Down Syndrome, and there is no cure because it is not a disease.
So, if you are a parent of a regular child, please, let your children see that being “different” is okay. Teach and encourage them to play and accept children like my daughter. After all, children are just children, and they all want to be loved.
Cover photo: @lennonslovingheart
Do you have a personal story you want to share with our millions of followers? Click here to send a 500-word story and the chance to be featured in our website.
For more stories about personal change and growth, click here:
How I Learned To Love And Trust Again
15 Feminist Lessons You Can Learn From The Powerpuff Girls
Toxic Masculinity: A Drunken Man Kissed Me On The Subway