Friday, October 30, 2015

“…….he will just be Riley.”

Just for the record, I’m not necessarily known for my literary abilities.  However, it was suggested that I share some of my thoughts about Down Syndrome and what it’s been like having the pleasure of spending almost 9 years with Hurricane Riley.  With the month almost gone, I guess I’m running out time so here we go.
Finding out you are having a child with Down Syndrome sends you down a lot of different emotional rabbit holes.   The internet and it’s wealth of information is as useful as it is detrimental to your search in what’s to come for him but for the family as well.  One moment you’re telling yourself everything will be okay.  The next you’re terrified because you’ve just read about the seemingly endless possibilities of health problems he could have.  The “what-ifs” consume you and will drive you to the brink of insanity.
After the amniocentesis results confirmed everything for us we sat down with some genetic counselors.  Honestly I can’t tell you much about what was said.  I was still trying to process everything and not let my anxiety get the best of me.  It was a lot of Charlie Brown’s teacher speaking to me. 
I do remember one thing however and it’s stuck with me all these years. She told us, “You’ll see past Down Syndrome and he will just be Riley.”  There was something comforting about that and it’s what I want people to do for Riley.  Look past the Down Syndrome and see him for what he is.  He’s Riley.
What it really boils down to is that when you have ANY child your lives change forever.  With Rex’s birth we became a family of 3 and our lifestyle changed.  It’s inevitable and it’s not a bad thing.  It’s just what happens and you roll with the changes.  The same thing with Riley.  While it was a VERY different experience all together you learn to roll with it and do whatever you have to do for him.
My wish for my kids is that they are healthy and happy.  While it’s true we seem to be constantly taking Riley in for another round of antibiotics bi-weekly, we’re pretty blessed with his health. We have met some amazing kiddos who have had major surgeries and it breaks your heart to hear the stories.  As far as happy….if you’ve been reading Mary’s blog you know Riley has that figured out.
I guess if I have anything to offer to anyone it’s that you can’t plan everything in life.  Your kids might take you down a different path than where you thought you were headed but that’s what keeps life interesting.  I’ve met some amazing people and made lifelong friends on this journey that I may not have met otherwise.  Be thankful for the gifts you’re given and let your kids teach you how to be a better person.

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