The National Advocate for People with Down Syndrome Since 1979

National Down Syndrome Society
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New York New York 10012
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Hello Anna
Hello Anna

Uptown magazine, my magazine, is 5 years and 60 issues old this month, but I can only think about my youngest daughter, Anna, with her new tooth that came in as a present to me on Father's Day. Anna has Down syndrome and everything takes a bit longer for her. She's over a year old, just getting her first teeth and is yet to take her first step. When Anna was born her diagnosis crushed me; the attending nurse had to tell me twice what her diagnosis was. Trisomy 21, Trisomy 21. I had to ask what that was. Down syndrome. The news was devastating, so much so that it threw me to my knees, crying in a heap in the corner of the delivery room and into a state of shock for a week. But that was more than a year ago, and things have changed, to say the least. I recently heard a man say that the word "adventure" is overused. In his mind an adventure doesn't start until everything goes wrong. I couldn't help but smile and nod my head. How true. In my mind an adventure is also shaped by how we respond to what went wrong. Do we remain crying on our knees or get up and move forward? From this experience with Anna, I think moving forward is life while standing still is death. A couple months after Anna was born, my wife, Julie, and her mom, Sara, were talking on the phone. At the time it wasn't meant as a joke, but Julie and I joke about it now. Sara asked her if she thought that I was going to leave the family because Anna had Down's. Julie mentioned it to me, and I said I wouldn't, but if I ever leave and go to Mexico I'd be taking Anna with me. Thankfully we never had to find out. I realized with Anna and with the magazine, seemingly insurmountable obstacles will appear one day, then the next will appear to be a blessing in disguise, and in the end just make your adventure that much more interesting. Just this past week I was able to escape to Oak Island with the family and some friends. We had a great spot on the beach and we would go out every day to drink beer, soak in the sun and play in the sand. With Anna still in diapers you never know what surprise may come, but eventually a surprise will come and one afternoon it did, in her swimmy diaper. Mom went to clean up Anna in the surf, and she came back with a naked, sleepy, salty, wet, fat baby in her arms. Mom gave her to me and for the next 30 minutes a very happy baby slept in Daddy's arms as a warm, soft Carolina beach breeze dried her off. It didn't matter one iota what she did or didn't have, just that she was mine.




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