Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder. It occurs when at the time of conception when the cells divide. The cells divide in an abnormal way causing there to be 3 copies of the 21st Chromosome. When this happened years ago and the baby was born, that baby was not allowed in society. We as a society shunned that person because of who they were created to be. We as a society said that they could not do anything and they were not worth anything.
It has taken years and years and many brave souls to fight for the rights of people with Down Syndrome. It has taken many people to break through these stereotypes and prove that people with Down Syndrome are actually a lot more like you and me than they are different. We are finally starting to see people with Down Syndrome mainstreamed and accepted in society. However, there are still many negative stereotypes that exist.
I say this only to remind us why we create awareness about Down Syndrome. We create awareness to get our society to accept people like Lydia. We create awareness to get people like Lydia included in mainstream activities or learning (should that be the best environment for her). We create awareness to learn from someone like Lydia.
Today my lesson that I have learned from Lydia is to be comfortable in the skin we were given. See Lydia was born just the way she is, she knows no different. She is very comfortable being her. She does not know that she is delayed, she does not know that she looks different, she does not know that she has major medical complications, she does not know that it is not normal to have beautiful scars all over your body. See, I forget that she knows nothing different.
What she knows, she is beautiful, she is loved, she is important, she is worth something. What she knows is who she is and what God wants her to be. What she knows is more than I give her credit for most times. She because it does not matter what she looks like, that she could not walk until she was two, that she spend the first five months of her life in the hospital, that she has no stomach and esophagus, that she had open heart surgery. None of that affects what she was created to do on this earth.
Just as I struggle with weight and have spent most of my life missing out on things because I have allowed myself to play into silly stereotypes. I have felt uncomfortable with the way I look because I have told myself I am nothing when I am bigger. However, bigger or smaller, I am still the same person. It is a shame that I have allowed myself to think that I am not worth much because of how I look. I may feel better health wise when I am smaller, I may be a little more confident, but I really am not changing who I am. I still have the same beliefs and the same husband, the same family, the same children. The only thing that I do to myself is miss out on opportunities because I am scared.
Lydia...she doesn't have that and I pray she never loses that. She is who she is because she knows no different and I love that. She has taught me how important it is to love myself for who I was created to be. She has showed me the importance of who I am because no matter what that may look like I am worth more than I think. No matter the physical appearance, the cognitive delay, the size I may be, the color of eyes I have; I am worth more than I think and I need to be proud of that. I need to understand my strengths and be proud of them continually working on my weakness.
I struggle with this every day, but every day I see Lydia and I am so proud to understand this. She makes me proud and I am so blessed that again I get to see an important life lesson every day that I can work on. She is who she was created to be, she is proud of that, and that is an amazing gift. I will work very hard that no tries to change that but embraces who she is.