Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Advocacy #31: Imagine what if….

For 31 days, we have shared a lot about what advocacy means to our family in our little corner of the world.  On this last day, I invite you to image what if with us.

IMG_9574What if we stopped equating smart with successful?

What if we believed that those who are not “smart” still have something to contribute?

Imagine a mom getting a diagnosis of Down syndrome in a world where it didn’t matter if her child would be smart.  What if she knew that the child would be accepted, taught, cared for, and loved regardless?

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What if we presumed competence in all?  And when someone doesn’t understand, what if, instead of being frustrated, we reacted with patience and love?

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What if we stopped believing that a classroom of learners who struggle is a “dumping ground”?

What if we stopped encouraging families touched by disability to band together in separate places and in separate communities and just embraced everyone?

Imagine parents learning that their child has Down syndrome in a world where they knew that their schools and communities wouldn’t bar them from participating in classrooms and activities.  Imagine never questioning whether your child would be allowed to participate in birthday parties, field trips, assemblies, or just in plain old school.

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What if we stopped believing that the brightest are the best and instead believed that those who are joyful, humble, caring, and kind are what we need most?

What if we stopped seeing advocacy as a way of “helping the less fortunate” and instead just saw it as being a human being?

What if we stopped seeing the disabled as less-fortunate altogether?

What if we always, always chose kind?

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What if we could see beauty in the differences that make each of us unique?

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What if we respected people’s feelings and beliefs and didn’t walk through life with the attitude that a different perspective makes someone a bad person or less worthy of kindness and love?

What if we could stop seeing another perspective as an attack on our own thoughts and feelings?

What if we just chose love?  Always.

YOU can make the difference.  YOU can be the Hands and Feet.  YOU can advocate in small ways, big ways, in thoughts, in actions, with money, with words, or with nothing but kindness.

I have a playlist on my iPhone called “Fight Song.”  It is made up of a series of songs that I find motivational and I listen to it on my way to work every single day.  It’s not that I need motivation to go to work everyday. I actually really love my job.  And it’s not that I’m fighting anything or anyone in particular at all.  These songs just tend to fill me up with the energy and positive feelings that I think are so important. They remind me to be brave, to be kind, and to do good.

The first song, the song I start each and every day with, is below.  As a last thought, before we go back to our regularly scheduled program of family antics and less-relevant rambling, I encourage you to watch the video, listen to the words and imagine if this song could drive what you do every day.

Imagine if this is how we lived.

What if?

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Lesson #11: Daycare is just the right thing to do (for us)

This is part of the 31 for 21 blog challenge!

There was never a doubt in my mind that I would be a working mom. Some girls imagine themselves taking care of babies and running their households. That was never me. I do all of that stuff, but I also have a job that I love and my kids go to Miss Julie’s house for their daytime care.

I’ll tell you more about Julie when I have a keyboard and I can do her justice. For now, suffice it to say that she has been a true blessing for our family. My girls adore her and her house.

What I love about daycare for Tessa is that she is totally thriving surrounded by older, typical kids. While playing with her sister gives her some exposure to words, movement, big-kid stuff, play at daycare is even more busy and complex. It has been her normal life routine for so long, since she was just three months old. It’s good for her. Case in point:

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Julie sent me that picture yesterday. It looks boring enough, just four kids hanging out around the box of Frozen toys. But the amazing background story is that Ellie and the other two were playing excitedly with these toys and Tessa army-crawled her way across the room to see what they were playing with. Motivation. Example. Acceptance.

She is in the right place.

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