We all go through things in life that affect us, that change us, that shape us and mold us. We are affected by a trial or a crisis or a change in direction. We are affected by one decision that we make or someone else makes. We are even affected by those around us, their behaviors and decisions and actions. We are affected by a sickness of ourselves, our children, our loved ones, we are affected by an unexpected diagnosis.
As I was thinking (something that I have been doing a lot of lately), I realized that just because I have been affected, does not make that a bad things. Actually, I have challenged myself to see it as something as a positive. I have been affected by many things, but does that make it a bad thing?
Absolutely not! I have been affected by Down syndrome and I am better because of it. My daughter has been affected by Down syndrome and that is who she is...and I LOVE IT. I have been affected by many things in my life and I choose to look at it as a blessing (now anyways) rather than a burden, a tragedy, or something bad.
Down syndrome has changed our entire family, has changed the way I look at things, who I am, how I deal with things, and the things that are important to me in my life. I would say that Down syndrome has affected me to my core in the very best possible ways. Down syndrome has affected the way I look at things, the way I behave, the way I give of my time and who I am as a person.
I am sure if someone from my past met me on the street and got to know who I was today, I would be almost completely different. I am sure that most people would say that. But if someone who knew me just three short years ago met me again, I am sure they would see someone completely different too. I have changed so much since Down syndrome has affected my life.
Many look at things that have affected our lives as something bad. For me, it was the best thing that could have ever happened. I have learned how to love deeper, love more unconditionally, I have learned how to stop and really smell the roses, how to appreciate the smallest of things, I have learned how to step up and accurately communicate something through lots of emotions, I have learned how to live life effectively under the most chaotic circumstances, I have learned how to give of myself more freely, I have learned the value of relationships and friendships, I have learned more about me, I have learned about miracles, I have learned about Faith and the goodness of God. I think that I could go on and on about what I have learned, but because my family was affected by Down syndrome I have become a whole new person.
I understand that for someone to truly understand what I am talking about, you have to be affected too. And since we are all affected by our own things, I share Lydia's story. I pray that her story may affect others and other will be impacted profoundly by her story. I realize that by sharing her story, I will not affect everyone's life and I am OK with that. But if we have affected someone's life, if someone has come to understand what a blessing Down syndrome is, it has been worth it.
There are so many days that I wish I had Lydia's disposition on life. She gets so excited over the simplest of things. I think we all could use more joy in our life (after all, God does call us to live with joy). I wish that I could be that comfortable in my own skin. I wish that I could let things roll off as she does. I wish that I could always be as thoughtful as her. I wish that I could be as determined as her. I wish that I could overcome as much as she has overcome. I wish that I would have known all of the positives Down syndrome has on your life, instead of the negative ones.
I have been affected and I am changing each day to be more like the person God wants me to be. He placed Lydia in our life for a very specific purpose. I am blessed by her. I love her to the moon and back and once more! I have been affected and I am sure happy that I was.
I am not saying that just because you are affected by something that everything is good. We had to endure some very tough things. But in those tough things we learned and we grew a lot. It was because of those tough things that we are better today. I look at my older girls and they are incredible. They went through things that I wish they would not have had to. However, it was in those tough lessons that they learned things that I could not have taught them. They are better because we were affected by this journey.
Even now as we battle some very tough things with Lydia's IEP, I am affected. I feel like some days I am living a nightmare. However, because I have been affected on this journey I can better handle these things. I have changed and I am now better equipped to deal with these things. And I am sure, through these troubles with the IEP, I will be affected once again and I will be better.
Down syndrome is part of what makes Lydia, Lydia. I would not change her for anything, even on the hard days. Life is not always easy, the course is sometimes very tough, but nothing worth doing is every easy!