An angel! Truly, I feel like I’m living with an angel. However, I have to say, having a child with special needs-not easy! For some reason, these past 2 weeks, I really began feeling very overwhelmed. My husband recently got a promotion, which sounds great, but has ended up being more time away from the family. I only work part time to care for my 3 children, ages 11, 7, and 4, and my mother who lives with us in her 80’s. I am also full legal guardian for another elderly individual, also like a second mother to me, in her 80’s (my 5th grade teacher) after her husband passed away from Alzheimer’s. My days off from work are usually filled with appointments for someone in my family. With approximately 5 therapies a week, horseback riding, swimming lessons, and dance for Anna, not to mention my two other children that have their own set of appointments and activities, it can be overwhelming. The medical issues with Anna also add to the pile of worries. Cleaning the house, cooking, and the forever loads of laundry also get added to the list of responsibilities. Those of you reading, I’m sure can relate with your endless list of things to do, and not to say that my life is any busier than anyone else’s, but for me, it finally became a bit too much.
It all came to a head this past week, and I shed tears as I parked myself in the garage one day. That is when Anna, with near tears in her own eyes, was so overcome with compassion for me that she came out of her car seat and climbed onto my lap. She offered me a tissue, wiped my tears, and asked me why I was sad. I truly didn’t know how to respond, but what amazed me is that as I went through this, I realized her extreme ability to empathize with another. It was like she truly felt my pain. My typical children do it, too, of course, to an extent, but I have to say there was something special about Anna’s genuine, incredible ability to empathize. It’s as if God made her so special and gifted her with a special strength and for a different purpose in life. I realized that this is a strength of many children with Down Syndrome even if they can’t communicate perfectly using their words. I see an extremely high level of social intelligence. This special level of social intelligence often surpasses that of a typical child or adult. I looked at her and said, “it’s a lot of hard work, but you are worth every minute of it.” I felt at peace after that as her little hands squeezed me for a hug. She then said, “Don’t worry, Mama, Jesus will help you. Let’s pray.” It’s as if she knew exactly what I needed for the moment. I knew about Anna’s Down Syndrome at 14 weeks, and at that time, I was devastated, but now, I know that all God wanted to do was bless me. A true blessing she is, and may your children bring you as much joy and comfort as our little Anna does for our family. I believe, given the chance, our children with Down Syndrome, no matter their abilities or capabilities, will for certain change the world touching the lives of all around them, making the world a better place for us all. How much I learn from our precious Anna.
By the way, the video is a follow-up to last week. Listen as the talk tools therapist asks her what she did in preschool!