Every year on 3/21 we celebrate World Down Syndrome Day because there are three copies of the 21st chromosome.
My daughter is 9 years old and Down syndrome is something in her I cherish. I didn’t always feel that way, and I did not always understand why Down syndrome was “celebrated” on a day like today. But now I know.
While Down syndrome is not what defines who my daughter is, Down syndrome is part of her identity. Every single cell in her body has an extra chromosome, which means Down syndrome cannot be separated from who she is.
I often hear people use language about “overcoming” Down syndrome or achieving things “in spite of” Down syndrome. I don’t find those messages to be accurate about who my daughter is. She has not overcome Down syndrome because there is nothing to overcome, and she has achieved things not in spite of Down syndrome, but with Down syndrome as an inseparable part of who she is.
We live in a culture that values intellect over all else, and I’m afraid those ideals are still present, still diminishing those who have intellectual disabilities — as is the case with most people who have Down syndrome. It is hard to imagine that someone would celebrate all aspects of Down syndrome, including an intellectual disability. But I do.
“For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139: 14
My daughter is perfect, exactly the way she is. She is fearfully and wonderfully made. Her intellect, her charm, her personality, the shape of her eyes — every single part of her body — masterfully planned and created by a loving God. This is why I celebrate on World Down Syndrome Day, because God in His wisdom has chosen to make us all diverse — not only in our outward appearance — but in our intellects, in our neurodiversity, in our physical abilities, in the ways we communicate. And I believe life is more beautiful for all of us, when we feel ready to embrace and celebrate all our differences.
Happy World Down Syndrome Day!
Join Erin and me on a mini-episode for the Unexceptional Moms podcast, as we talk about Down Syndrome Day.
Don’t forget to get your free copy of: 31 Facts About Down Syndrome
Stop by and connect on Facebook