Thursday, September 24, 2015

Friendship Blessings

One of the things I had heard about having a kid with Down syndrome was how you may lose some friends over time. I'm not really sure what the reasoning is behind that but I couldn't imagine how that could happen. Seriously, someone would stop being my friend because my kid was a little different? Maybe that's not what was meant. Maybe they meant people won't understand us anymore. I don't know. It doesn't seem plausible but I suppose it could happen. We had only told a few people about Kendall before he was born. Several of my best friends had no clue.
Why didn't we tell anyone about Kendall? A totally valid question. I think first I had to figure it out on my own. My feelings, that is. I had to grieve what was no longer my perfect pregnancy. Then I had to get to the point where I could talk about it without crying. That was the hardest part. I didn't want to seem sad or feel ashamed of my baby so I didn't want to talk about it because I knew it would lead to me crying and that would give the absolute wrong impression of what I wanted. I also didn't want people to feel sorry for me. I haven't been fearful of losing my friends but I don't want the pity looks either. I didn't (and still don't) want people's response to me to be "I'm so sorry" when I tell someone he has Down syndrome. Dude, why are you sorry - that's what I want to say. He is amazingly adorable. There is nothing to be sorry about. But I have prepared myself for this so it hasn't stung too bad -yet. I just try to put myself back to a year ago when I had no clue about this world and what I would say if someone told me their kid had DS. I totally might have said, "Aww I'm sorry." I get it. You don't know what you don't know.
And good God yes, please keep praying for us. I will take every single prayer that anybody will throw at me. But do me a favor and pray for my sanity due to the fact that I have a house full of rowdy boys, not simply because God blessed me with this baby. One of my co-workers, who is also a DS mom of an 18 year old, told me recently, "You may not feel it now but on some days you will feel like you got the golden ticket with Kendall." She went on to say, "I feel like that almost every day." This really resonated with me. I am the lucky one who gets to experience something that most never will. Maybe I should feel sorry for everyone else? Because I can tell you, this whole new world of people I've been exposed to over the last 3 months is AH-MAZING! It's like I'm part of the DS Illuminati or something. Maybe I will have Ed write a rap song about it.
Over the years we have been blessed with a lot of friends. And I mean that as in the 'we are so fortunate to have so many friends' kind of way. Our town is small. And both of our families are from this same small town. Ed's family goes back several generations in Chapel Hill and mine since my Uncle Wally came to UNC back in the sixties, which is how my mom ended up here in a round-about way. There are a lot of pluses to the fact that Ed and I went to high school together, like how we have had a lot of the same friends since we were kids. And we have been really fortunate to meet a lot of new friends along the way. Our work friends, people that have moved to the area, and some of our dearest friends from our time in Greensboro. There is something to be said about friends who are there for you every second that you need them. And you all have shown up in droves. My kids are so lucky to have you all in their lives.
On Sunday, October 11th, we will be participating in our first Buddy Walk with the Triangle Down Syndrome Network. I signed us up for the walk and registered us as a team, "Kendall's Kruisers." Part of this process allows you to create a fundraising page to raise monies for the TDSN to support programs in the Triangle for people with DS. You can visit our page HERE. I decided this would be how we would announce to our friends via Facebook that Kendall has DS. The support we have received, whether it be words of encouragement, cards, or money donated to our team, has been beyond overwhelming. Friends that we haven't seen or actually spoken to in years have donated. Friends of friends have donated. We have been blown away with how many people are supporting us on our journey to be the best parents we can for Kendall. Comments to my blog have left me crying happy tears that I have so many friends who care about me and my family. This experience has been amazing. And it has only been 3 months. So thank you. All of you. Every single person who has thought of us, called us, donated to us. You are encouraging us and you are pushing us to be the best parents we can be. You are appreciated and we love you.

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