Monday, October 20, 2014

He Did It

This month we celebrate Down syndrome Awareness month and Developmental Disabilities Month. We honor the month by walking in Buddy Walk Atlanta put on by the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta. (You can still support our team!) 

The day is like a giant family reunion of the close community of people who know what it is like to love, care for, be challenged and inspired by a person who has Down syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21. We walk in support of our son, Joey.

Each year, I learn more about life from my son. It was the day before Buddy Walk this year when I had an occasion to observe the sweet tenacity that I know will help my son achieve great things in this world. 

Tenacity, or sticktoativeness, is a character trait I admire a lot and I believe it can have a huge impact on how your life turns out if you don't have it.

It was late in the day, and the crowds had thinned at at our church fall festival. We wanted to have the kids expend some energy, so we went to the bouncy houses. They all love them.

They immediately gravitated to one that had an obstacle course, climbing wall and slide. My son made it through the obstacles, but I was worried he would not be able to climb the ladder.

You see, people with Down syndrome have lower muscle tone. This means they often have to work harder on physical tasks and it may take longer to learn physical skills. 

So when it came to the climbing wall, Joe had a challenge. He faced it head on trying several times to get past that first step, each time with determination and hope. After getting a little help by his sisters, Joe was eager to try again, on his own. 

He climbed without worrying about who was behind him, who was passing him (accomplishing the task better than he) or who was watching. When he slipped, he started climbing all over again with a big smile to boot! It did not take him long to literally learn the ropes and soon he was climbing all on his own. As he neared the top, he turned and said "I did it!" Yes, buddy you sure did!!!