It was a great pregnancy, the best one of the three. When she entered this world and the doctor said there may be a problem I didn't believe him. She was beautiful, the first to look like me, as a friend told me. It was not until the end of the week that I got the call that she had Down syndrome. My first thought was somebody is going to take advantage of my baby, and I cried. I didn't cry for myself, but for the challenges that this precious new life would face throughout her life. How wrong I was! After hearing the long list of what those challenges would be my thoughts were that the first few years would be fairly easy what with low muscle tone and all. She did have some heart problems, but they were able to hold off on surgery until she was 16 months old. The chronic black eyes and respiratory problems didn't keep her down. She rolled to get what she wanted at 5 months, and was climbing out of her playpen before she was one. Once the surgery was done she has been as healthy as a horse. In 13 years she has been to the doctor once for a broken foot she got while dancing in her room and kicking her chair. Her first year of middle school was a joy for her, her teachers and classmates. As I was told by the teacher, the children in her class had no idea how to really play. Samantha burst onto the scene in her usual way with her big personality and even bigger imagination and taught them all how to have fun. She will be staying in eighth grade again this year only because they must be 16 to work and that will not be until February for her. Everyone knows how badly she wants to work and they are protecting her from the disappointment of not being able to go for most of the school year. I also think they want to keep her there because she is such a big help with the other children and teachers. I don't mind this because they will give her the work she needs to keep moving ahead with her life skills. She is my joy, the gift from God for the world to see what He meant to love one another unconditionally, not judging what's on the outside but the spirit that is coming from within each person and a forgiving heart that we would all be blessed to have. It doesnt matter where she is or who she meets, people walk away smiling and feeling better about themselves. She radiates a light that warms the people around her, ever ready with her hugs and a smile that cannot be ignored' simply because she won't let you.