Here are 5 things that I've learned since my daughter was born, in no particular order.
2. You learn a new sense of tolerance/patience. With each of my kids, I've learned a new sense of tolerance/patience to some degree because having several children just does that to you if you want to remain sane. But having a child with Down syndrome teaches you tolerance in another way. You become less concerned about "how fast and far you can go", less concerned with keeping up with the Jones's. You learn to be more patient in "waiting" for milestones, more tolerant of things that might annoy you otherwise. And if you have any sort of heart, more tolerant of other people's misunderstandings of what Down syndrome is. After all, unless you have first hand experience with someone with Down syndrome there are several things that are commonly believed which are antiquated and completely untrue. Which leads into....
3. Education. There are a wondrous variety of things to learn on this journey. It starts on day 1. The first thing that I hope you will come to see is that these persons are more alike than different! They desire love, compassion, understanding, friends, family, education, all the things that any other person may desire. When you receive the Down syndrome diagnosis, it is my hope that it will be delivered with a sense of joy that you have a new human being to get to know. Who will Lisette be? What will she do as an adult? What kinds of food does she like? What makes her laugh?
4. Family is not always blood. People who you can relate with, who are experiencing similar circumstances, whether they are health related or simply because you have this rare and beautiful thing in common can be the binder in these people becoming your family. Some of these people are some of the greatest gift to my life. They can relate. They cry with me. They lift me up. They are my people.
5. You'll wear tshirts. Usually, I like to wear simple stuff. When my daughter was born this desire to share suddenly sprung up inside. Though we mostly keep to ourselves, wearing a tshirt is a way to spread awareness for a cause, and I became drawn to them. That, and buying tshirts can support your local group. Consider buying a tshirt if you see your locals selling them! More often than not the proceeds benefit your local community.
This is just a tidbit of what's come in the last couple of years. I can't wait for the journey to continue.