Today we are walking to create awareness for Down syndrome. Today we will gather with friends and family and celebrate all of the many people who carry an extra 21st Chromosome. Today we will educate one another and have fun. We will see people with all different abilities, physical differences, cognitive abilities and we will embrace every single person and celebrate one another. It is a time to gather resources and make new friends; to network and share our story. It is an event in our house; almost like another holiday!
This is our second year doing the walk. I can't begin to describe to you how much the support means to me and our family. To know that we are surrounded by this much love and acceptance is simply amazing. People we hardly know coming to the walk to support us. People who we don't even know supporting Team Lydibug. People encouraging us and helping us raise awareness. I am so humbled by all of the support.
Pre-Lydia I was not involved in a "cause." I thought it was like the new trend and I steered clear of them. Maybe it did not affect me enough. It was not like I did not care, I just thought that I was fine in my corner of the world going to church, raising my kids, and growing in my marriage. I supported things bigger than me, other than our church, but often times I just gave money or just put in the minimal time required. I was involved in things, I volunteered, but there was no passion behind it.
I know it is easier to be involved in things, to be passionate about things when it affects your life. I regret that I had to wait until it did affect my life. Down syndrome affected my life way before Lydia and I just put blinders on. My husband's friend growing up had Down syndrome; he even stood up in our wedding. My cousin had a son with Down syndrome several years ahead of Lydia. One of my friends had a son with Down syndrome just a couple of years before Lydia. I did not "get it." I was unaffected because I did not have much compassion for others than myself, if I am being brutally honest. THANK YOU LYDIA FOR COMING ALONG AND SHOWING ME WHAT I WAS MISSING!
Yes, Down syndrome is in our life, it is just who we are. And unlike so many causes that get the spotlight all of the time, there is no cure that we are in search of, there is no miracle drug we are looking for, there is no switch that we are looking to turn off. The goal, at least my goal, I want acceptance for my daughter. I want others to understand that my daughter, even with an extra 21st Chromosome is no different. I want the same education and experience for her as my other daughters. I want her to be accepted in society. I want others to look at her for what she can do and not what she can't.
Lydia has unleashed a passion in me. It is a passion, a compassion for the value of human life. While it has always been important to me, I understand it so much more now because of her. I see how it can be a cruel world and I see how it can be a loving world. I can see how God's plan is directly laid out. We are to love our neighbors. That's it. The world often times is very unloving to people who the world deems as not worthy. That is sad. She has shown me how important every single human life is, no matter what.
I wish that I would have learned this passion much sooner. However, I am committed to raising awareness, helping others as much as I can. And it is not for selfish reasons either. It is to truly help others. Lydia showed me the value of her life when the world said there was no value. The walk is one small way to raise awareness. I have also opened our lives up to share our story to help others. I help lead a support group in our town to help other families who have children with any disability.
And I am so excited to see what other ways God will lead me to so I can help others, so I can create awareness and share this passion. I thank God for allowing Lydia to come into my life to learn so many great lessons. Thanks God for showing me, for guiding me, and for putting so many amazing people in our lives to support us!