Friday, March 21, 2014

3/21, Three Twenty One, March 21st

Today is 3/21, World Down syndrome Day. 3/21 represents the triple copy of the 21st chromosome that occurs with Ds. We always knew there was something extra special about Sara when we first saw her picture. Now we know why!! She is extraordinary and is rockin' her extra chromosome. Our lives rock having her in it! We are members of an elite club that brings so much joy and love into our lives!

One of the campaigns that supports World Down syndrome Day is "Rock Your Socks!" To show your support you can wear crazy socks today, tomorrow or even the next day and when someone asks you about your socks you reply, "Someone I know or love has Down syndrome." All of my kids wore crazy socks to school today! My teenager even gave a shout out to his fiends last night via Instagram, asking them to wear crazy socks and I have already had one mom tell me that her son wore them! It makes me so happy to know that we have the support of our friends and neighbors! It was so cute because Kate, although she wanted to support the idea, she was nervous to wear crazy socks because she has a hard time saying "syndrome". She says "Down sisom". She practiced many times before she left this morning and was pretty confident that she could pronounce it correctly if people asked.

Pretty darn cute, 3 chromosomes made out socks! The socks represent that even though they are different, they serve the same purpose.

Kate and Beck sporting their crazy socks and Ds Buddy Walk shirts. Cole had already left for school but was sporting bright pink ones with sparkly snowflakes.

I love how my kids love Sara! Just yesterday Kate said, "I love Sara so much. She is my best sister!" She and Beck still say, "I forget Sara has Down syndrome sometimes." It's because they see her as a lovely little girl who is just part of their gang! She fits in and is no different than them. I love that Cole, anytime there is a reason to support Ds is posting things for his friends to see. Just the other day when it was "Spread the Word to End the Word" Cole posted the cutest pic of Sara, asking his friends to stop using the words "retard" or "retarded". He had several friends who made the pledge to stop. We are pretty blessed and lucky to have Sara in our lives! She is teaching us and others so much, especially how to love and accept. 

This afternoon my friend Kecia and I are going into Beck, Bree, and Mia's 1st grade class to give a small presentation on Ds. Bree is Kecia's biological daughter born with Ds. I refer to her as the gardener in Sara's garden. Throughout our adoption process I compared Sara to a flower who is ready to blossom and bloom. Mia is Kecia's daughter who was also adopted from Ukraine. And it was during their journey to get her that I knew it was something we could, should and would do. So Mia is the one who planted the seed. Sara is the blooming flower and Bree is the master gardener who cares for them all. Anyway, we're going to show a video, talk a little bit about Ds and explain to the children that Bree, Mia, and Sara are "Just Like You". And then leave them with a treat (Hi-Chew) so they will remember to "chews" to love and accept everyone for who they are. Please take a moment to watch this video too! It will be worth 14 minutes of your time, I promise!

This last picture is a collage of many of the beautiful traits and qualities that I LOVE about Sara. Many of these traits are unique to people with Ds. It's part of the Ds package and what a beautiful package it is!

The first is her little hands. People usually have 3 creases in their palm. Most people with Ds have a simian crease, which is a single line that runs across the palm of the hand. Although Sara does have two separate creases, they come together to make one crease and the third crease is non existent. (But did you know that people without Ds can also have a simian crease? In fact Mark does!) 

I LOVE Sara's piggies!! She has a big gap called a "sandal gap" between her big and second toe. It's just a big space between her toes and occurs in approximately 45% of those with Ds. We love and call them her monkey toes/feet and it is very fitting because she climbs and plays like a little monkey! 

I adore Sara's flat bridge between her nose, her low set, little ears with a tiny fold and her silly tongue that sometimes protrudes! All very common with Ds.

I love that Sara is always dancing as if no one is watching! She can wiggle and move, twerk and groove and can sometimes even do the worm! She hears music and can't help herself! It doesn't matter who is watching and she is never embarrassed to shake it! Little did the Pointer Sisters know that they wrote the song "I'm So Excited" just for Sara. "I'm so excited and I just can't hide it. I'm about to lose control and I think I like it!" 

Sara is super flexible. She falls asleep leaning forward, bent in half. She can touch her toes from standing up without bending her knees. She can put her foot in her mouth and it's almost 98% guaranteed that she will eat with her foot resting on her tray. She is Miss Stretch for sure!

Sara loves without end! She loves to give cuddles! She'll back right into your lap and snuggle. And she gives the best kisses ever! We always get a little extra (wet, sloppy and open mouth). Must be the extra chromosome!

Hey eyes, oh her eyes, how they sparkle and shine! She has blushfield spots which are unique to those with Ds. They are white spots or speckles on the Iris of the eye. They make her baby blues have a marble/starry affect. Her eyes are also almond shape meaning that the outer corner of her eyes turn up instead of down. And she has an extra fold of skin on the inner corner of her eyes. All of these traits make her peepers simply stunning! 

When Sara is resting and taking a break she has a unique way to sit. She sits criss cross applesauce with her head titled up. I used to think that it was because she couldn't see but since her eye surgery, her vision is perfect! It's just a Saraism and I love it! 

The middle picture is my absolute favorite and if defines exactly who Sara is! Sara is happy and full of life! She doesn't care when she has crazy, bed head or a messy face! She doesn't care about what she's wearing or how she acts. She is true and genuine and has a zest for life.  (Yes she does cry too, it's not true that people with Ds are always happy.) But she lives each day knowing that she is a light that was once hidden and can now shine! Her smile brightens our days! Her giggle is contagious! Her spirit radiates love! Everything about her is near perfection! Her mission on this earth is to love and be loved and I'm pretty sure she is right on track! 

3/21, World Down syndrome Day is a day to raise awareness about Ds and gives us an opportunity to teach acceptance and love. Please understand that people with Ds are more alike than they are different. Sara is just like you with an extra pinch of sugar! And believe me, she is pretty sweet!! 

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