Dear Daughter, I’m Not Sorry Your Brother has Down Syndrome

Dear Daughter, I'm not sorry your brother has Down syndrome

Dear Violet,

When your Dad called me to tell me that your brother had Down syndrome, my world stopped for a minute. I dropped the phone and fell on the floor. The first thing that came out of my mouth was, “Oh God, this doesn’t feel real, this doesn’t feel real, this doesn’t feel real.” The next thing was, “Oh no, poor Violet, poor Violet, poor Violet.” Of course my thoughts turned to you sweet girl.

For 16 months you were my world. I can honestly say that I cherished all of our days together- ok, I could have done without some of the teething ones! I really did try to soak in the little details of the day-to-day: the giggles, playing peek-a-boo and reading the same books over and over again. But, when I learned about your brother’s diagnosis, I sadly exited the present and lived in your future.

Instead of focusing on your first words, I focused on your middle school years. What if someone made fun of you for having a brother who was different? What if I got too overwhelmed with his special needs and forgot about your needs? All I could think about was how this wasn’t fair to you. What I failed to think about in those first few weeks was how wonderful his diagnosis could be for you.

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I didn’t know that 97% of children who had a brother or sister with Down syndrome felt pride for their sibling and that 88% of kids also said they felt their brother or sister with DS made them a better person. This is my hope for you, Violet.

When you see Anderson working hard to accomplish something that comes so naturally to you, I pray you learn humility. When you are tempted to judge someone based on his or her appearance, I pray you think of your brother and how he will be judged. When you are tempted to complain about life’s little annoyances, I pray you instead feel grateful for your many blessings.

I hope you teach each other to cherish life- find the beauty in all the small things, to live with gratitude. I hope you teach each other to love.

I know you may grow up sooner than your peers, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Because of your brother, I hope you can by-pass some of the shallowness that comes with youth. I hope because of your brother, you will live life fearlessly and maximize all of your talents. I hope you see your brother and realize there’s a big world with many needs outside of your school hallways.

So, I’m not sorry your brother has Down syndrome. I don’t think it’s unfair anymore. In fact, I feel that you are at an advantage because of his diagnosis. You have the secret to life right in front of you. Being popular doesn’t matter. Having the coolest car in the High School parking lot (which you won’t by the way) doesn’t matter. Being pretty doesn’t matter. What matters most is this: to love people, all people.

Galations 5: 6

“…The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

Love, Mom

P.S.

Please know that your brother is so fortunate to have you as his sister. I know you will learn from him, but he will also learn from you. You are kind like your dad and feisty like me. We know you will be not only one of his greatest teachers, but his protector and his friend. He’s so lucky.

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Two Years with Violet

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Dear Violet, Today is your second birthday. So much has changed since your first. The first year of your life was my favorite year of my whole life, your Dad’s too. There were so many changes, all of them exciting! We took you everywhere. You went to a dozen states. You saw things most people […]

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The One Thing People Should Know about Down Syndrome

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The Mighty asked their Down syndrome contributors to tell people what’s the one thing they should know about DS. The video is in honor of World Down syndrome Day, 3/21.  Personally, only having a newborn with Down syndrome, I felt a little unqualified to participate.  However, I decided that there is at least one thing I’ve learned about […]

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The Airplane Nursery Meltdown {Pregnancy Down syndrome Diagnosis)

Oversized Letter for Nursery

When I was pregnant with my daughter one of the things I was the most excited about was putting together a nursery. I thought about each detail. I spent more hours than I’d like to admit picking out her bedding. I did pinterest-type DIY projects for it…and I’m not the DIY kind of girl. I […]

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Anderson’s Birth Story {Prenatal Down syndrome Diagnosis}

anderson home

It was December 30th and I was in a wretched mood. Well, my 20-month-old daughter Violet was the one having a really bad day, which in turn made all of us (particularly my 38-week pregnant self) pretty miserable. It was so bad that I actually apologized to my parents, more than once, for the terrible […]

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“You Don’t Have to be a Hero”-The Horrible thing my Doctor Said {Down Syndrome Diagnosis}

Disclaimer: I’m not a working journalist any more and I did not have any kind of recording device during this discussion.  The quotes are what I remember about the conversation I had with my doctor, they are not exact. My husband has a gift. He can’t remember bad things that happen. So, if I ever […]

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Leaving Comfort Behind…We’re Moving Again!

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“ I have bad news,” those are the words I heard four and a half hours into a car ride from Georgia to Florida. That’s the fifth time I’ve answered the phone this year to hear my husband say those words. Maybe a year ago that phrase would be followed by “I can’t make it […]

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