The leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society
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New York New York 10017
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For Madison
My sister Madison and I
My sister Madison and I
For Madison

My sister is resilient. She is a girl who believes in love and lives her life with a passionate, caring heart that at birth bore two holes. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that she has a single deep crease in her palms where others have two, defining her love line in a manner akin to her behavior. She is a girl who is strong and grounded. No matter how harrowing or how disheartening the world may be for her at times, my sister stays rooted, like a tree, because she realizes you have to be robust and resilient in a world where most have two copies of chromosome twenty-one and she has three. My sister was once a girl who was not supposed to live, who could not independently hold her head up at three or even four months. My sister was a girl who, at six years old, could not stand up on her own two feet when she fell at youth soccer, and so my mother would have to pick her up off the Maquan Elementary soccer field to stand her upright again. And after every fall, she always stood up and kept playing, because nothing could keep her down, for she was resilient like that. My sister is a girl who at one point challenged who I was. Who taught me selflessness and patience. My sister was my yoga before I even knew what yoga was. Because yoga is more than the physical body, it is about staying rooted even in unpleasant moments. My sister taught me to let go of judgments, to accept each day as it comes, and to live in each moment whole-heartedly. My sister has moved me since the day she was born, because she is resilient like that. My sister is beautiful, with expressive, bright, blue, almond shaped eyes. Eyes that tell me when she’s excited and when she is upset because in her developmental stage, my sister was a girl with delayed speech and spoke through her eyes. She is a girl with pretty, long, golden hair. Hair that makes her look like me and for which I am proud. My sister is a girl with Down syndrome who, despite a proclivity for low muscle tone, has a killer set of abs and biceps to rival John Henry. All of this because she is resilient. And when people try to knock her down, she is a girl who stands tall and confident like a valiant, coniferous tree in the middle of an open field of beauty. Being born with an extra twenty-first chromosome certainly challenges what is considered normalcy, but my sister has treaded these unknown waters quite fiercely. On certain days when I don't want to leave my bed to face the world, I think of my sister, and how resilient she is.

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