Thursday, March 21, 2013

Down syndrome is...

Today is World Down syndrome Day - aptly held on 3/21 every year.  I know my title is "Down syndrome is.." but in truth I can't answer that question for you because it is no easier to describe DS in general then it is to describe a group like Americans.  You can probably give me a few general traits if I ask you to describe an American - speaks English (oh except when they are immigrants from another country), lives in the United State of America (oh except for ex-patriots living abroad), believes in democracy (oh except for those that just don't) - every trait you can come up with has some sort of exceptions and the individual will have their own strengths and weaknesses.  The same is true for Down syndrome.  Sure some people with Down syndrome have common physical characteristics or certain delays but you can't tell me anything about an individual just knowing they have Down syndrome.  Some are outgoing - some are shy, some are creative - some follow rigid routines, some are cheerful - some are grouchy, they may all have an extra 21st chromosome but beyond they each person is completely unique.
This is not something I understood 7 years ago, it was a lesson that only Cate could teach me.  She has taught me that no person can be defined by a label.  Even when that label is reality there just isn't enough room on it to write all the important stuff.  So it is a reality that Cate has Down syndrome but Cate is uniquely herself and there is no one else like her. 
Since she can't write this for herself let me tell you who I think Cate is:
Cate is a beautiful seven year old

Cate is a student

Cate is an athlete
Cate is competitive

Cate is a big sister

Cate is adventurous

Cate is creative

Cate is a performer

Cate is a daddy's girl

Cate is her mother's pride and joy

She is the light of our lives because she is unique.  She is loved.

Happy World Down Syndrome Day! 
and Thank you to all of those who work to make sure that all the unique kids like Cate can be seen for the people they are and the potential they embody.


  1. I love this. We have a friend with Down Syndrome. She is 26 or 27 (I really should remember!) and a great person. There are times she wants nothing to do with me or my husband (we go to church with her and her family -- mom and dad, brother and sister-in-law) and at times she hugs me so hard and so long and won't let go. She adores our boys and depending on their mood (one has sensory issues and is occasionally freaked out by anyone looking at him), they adore her. Her parents have both said that they would not change anything about their daughter, because Kelli without Down Syndrome wouldn't be Kelli. She is a delight to be around and I am glad our boys know her.

  2. Happy World Down Syndrome Day!! I LOVE this post.