Giovanni means “God is gracious.” The meaning of my son’s name tells a story in itself. I received the news that my unborn child was diagnosed with a 99% chance of having Down syndrome when I was five months pregnant. The fetal specialist gave the diagnosis over the phone (how professional, right?) and gave me two options; she stated I could go in her office and talk about aborting or following through with my pregnancy. Well, by the time I hung up the phone I couldn’t breathe, I was hysterically crying feeling broken, sad, scared, frustrated, mad, disappointed, etc. Why me? What did I do wrong? It was such an indescribable mountain of emotions that I couldn’t explain to anyone, not even to myself. Then it hit me, I’m going to be a mom again! I started reaching out to my family, my close friends letting them know the news & I got nothing but positive vibes and well wishes. Since that day forward my life changed. I looked at life completely differently, I researched and educated myself as much as I could since I had no clue what Down syndrome meant and as the time got closer and closer to my due date I felt at peace. I was ready and I couldn’t wait to hold him. On February 22 he decided he was ready to meet us, making my delivery a whole 45 minutes long. I wasn’t even registered into the hospital by the time he was born. What a relief! My son was born with 10 fingers, 10 toes, two ears, etc. I was immediately in love for the second time. Gio has been nothing but one of the greatest blessings that I can ever imagine receiving. I feel lucky, special, honored and happy that God chose me to be his mom. In his short six years he has shown me a beautiful meaning to life. It’s ok to be different, it’s okay to stand out and to advocate for what you believe in. Just by being himself he has taught people to be kind to others, to always accept people for who they are not by how they are, to love your life and the people in it, to appreciate your accomplishments no matter how big or small they may be. All in all, he has taught me how to be a better person. I know all parents are proud of their children but I am beyond proud of all his achievements. He loves to laugh, dance, play, read books, give hugs and what I admire the most is, his heart of gold! I know that he still has a lot to learn as he will enter kindergarten this year and he will make us proud every step of the way. My wish is that one day everyone can cross paths with someone like my Gio so that their life can be changed in ways that you couldn’t imagine.