I'm sure everyone knows by now that October is Breast Cancer Awareness, right? I mean, I've got my mammogram scheduled for today after work (ouch) and you see those pink ribbons everywhere. They've been very successful in getting that message across.
But did you know it is also Down Syndrome Awareness Month as well?? My pally, Christy at Motherhood Unscripted writes about it and I encourage you to visit her blog as she posts about her son, Henry, for the month of October. I hope this message of understanding and compassion for those with Down's Syndrome also gets the exposure it deserves.
Christy has 4 children, one being Henry, her son with Down's Syndrome. He is absolutely adorable, but he also goes through the trials and tribulations of childhood like every other kid. The only difference is that Henry sometimes does things differently or perhaps catches on a bit slower. Christy writes a beautifully honest blog about her family and focuses on every family member, not just Henry.
When I was growing up, my mom was part of a small group of people who brought religious education to the mentally handicapped kids in our community. I was fortunate to grow up knowing this group of special kids, sharing and talking about God, while learning what being mentally handicapped means. I saw first hand the kindness and love that they share and how awful unknowing people can be.
Our home was open to the likes of Jerry and Frank, two of the sweetest guys ever--who permanently remain in my heart. And one night, when asked to say a prayer to God, Frank prayed that when he and Jerry got to heaven, he wanted God to make Jerry's legs straight again. You see, Jerry was crippled and Frank wanted to make sure Jerry could walk with him in heaven.
I was forever touched by that experience and so I have this special place in my heart for little Henry. I love to read about his adventures--good, bad, and indifferent, because I know that each milestone is a mountain that he has climbed and how incredibly patient and loving his family is.
One of my very favorite photos is this one--it is Henry after dressing himself for the day. I love how this photo boasts of Henry's diligence in his job of getting dressed alone and his complete indifference to that challenge. He is a proud warrior, that Henry. And I love that he did his job and went on with the day.
It isn't how silly he looks that makes me smile--it is his pure determination that warms my heart. Do you know how freaking difficult this must have been to pull off???! Homeboy has some creative problem-solving skills.
Having Down's Syndrome doesn't mean that you are stupid or that you can't hear nasty comments said about you. It merely means that you have an extra chromosome that makes things just a tad harder. Or you just have to be a little more creative in how you tackle life.
Pass the word this October, pallies. Henry rocks!