When you have a child with Down syndrome you instantly become part of an amazing community.
Today was a good day.
We felt loved. We felt supported. We felt understood.
Today we took part in the annual GiGi’s Walk and Festival in Fargo, ND.
For those unfamiliar, GiGi’s is a Down syndrome achievement center. They offer free programming and support to individuals with Down syndrome and their families. There are a bunch of them scattered throughout the United States. GiGi’s is primarily funded by donations and events like today’s walk.
GiGi’s has been a tremendous blessing to our family. We’ve met so many awesome friends there. Friends who understand our journey, because they’re on a similar one!
When you have a child with Down syndrome, you instantly become part of a unique and special community. I’m reminded of this every time I step into GiGi’s.
I’m also reminded of this at the grocery store, when I’m stopped by another mom whose adult son has Down syndrome and just needs to tell me how beautiful she thinks Willow is. Even though we’ve never met before, we talk for 15 minutes.
I’m reminded of my community every time I hop on Facebook looking for help. A quick post about Willow’s behavior gets multiple responses offering advice. Some come from moms and dads I’ve never met before but have connected with online. They offer sympathy and support simply because they know what it feels like. They’ve been there.
My community also shows up whenever I write a new blog post. Words of encouragement and solidarity pour in from all over the place. Some are fellow parents of kids with Down syndrome. Occasionally, I’ll hear from a mom coping with a new diagnosis.
I live in Minnesota but my community extends to Virginia, Illinois and even Canada. My community also follows me wherever I go. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stopped by other families with a connection to Down syndrome. Many times, I’ve done the stopping!
The connection is always instant, the conversation always easy.
We’re all in this together. We all understand what many outside our community fail to see… that this journey, as hard as it can be at times, is a blessing.
We are the lucky few…..