As Thanksgiving approaches, naturally I've been thinking about what I am thankful for. Of course I am thankful for good health for me and my family and good health for my extended family. I am thankful for Mike's job, thankful for the opportunities we've had with his job. I'm thankful for Mike and for God putting him in my life-honestly, I don't think anyone else could put up with me-Ha! And I'm thankful for my sweet, sweet children. As I sit here and think about each of my children I can honestly say I am thankful for every inch of their little bodies, inside and out. But when it comes to Bennett, I ask myself am I thankful for that extra chromosome?
Let me just tell you as a mom, as a parent, this is very hard to answer, at least for me. Let me share with you what that extra chromosome has given me and then maybe I'll be able to answer my own question...
Bennett having Down syndrome has allowed me to "meet" so many wonderful people that I otherwise would have never "known".
I have received countless emails from strangers that have told me their stories and how Bennett's story has helped them cope and how it has inspired them.
I have received the sweetest messages from good friends and others that I haven't heard from in years, that allowed me to see what type of person they really are and otherwise I don't think I would've known their hearts like I feel I do today.
I have seen a love from family members that can never be broken, not ever. A love so deep, so genuine and so pure.
For me and for my life, Bennett brings out the best in people. That's the bottom line. Basically he has allowed me to see into the hearts of people, really see their hearts and how they feel and to me there is nothing sweeter. But if he didn't have Down syndrome I honestly don't think I would even have this blog because I didn't even know what a blog was until I started looking at them right after we found out. I would have never "met" these wonderful people or heard from friends that I haven't heard from in years.
And if Bennett didn't have Down syndrome of course the love that people have would always exist but would I see it in my life, I don't think so. I wouldn't be brought to tears by the emails and messages I've received because there would be no reason for people to share their hearts with me. I wouldn't be brought to tears by all the kindness we've received from friends and family. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I think Bennett is more special than any other baby. All babies are special and are precious gifts from God. I'm just saying that the things I am thankful for and the things that have made a difference in my life are in a sense because of him having Down syndrome. And Bennett is not just Down syndrome. It is not what defines him as a person, it is a part of him and if I love every inch of his body, inside and out then I have to love the part that is Down syndrome.
So as hard as this is to say or write for me, and as crazy as it may sound, almost a year later after being thrown, dragged, shoved into a world that I did not want to be a part of (kicking and screaming mind you), the world of Down syndrome that is, I can say I am thankful for every part of Bennett and for Down syndrome and the things it it has already shown me. There, I wrote it. Man that was hard to write, I'm not going to lie. But it is what God intended for Bennett and I am thankful for everything God has given me so Down syndrome must be included. You see,
"Every good and perfect gift is from above" James 1:17
And Bennett is good and Bennett is perfect.
It's so strange because it's never been a question whether or not I'm thankful for Bennett. But I've never been able to say I am thankful for him having Down syndrome. That's sounds crazy doesn't it? Why would I be thankful for something that causes delays in children and that sometimes causes health issues in children and that may one day cause him to be made fun of? Why on earth would I be thankful for that? The fact is that while the world of Down syndrome can bring on many scary things or many hurtful things, the good things from it far out weigh the bad and I truly believe they always will. I cannot change the fact that he has Down syndrome, would I if I could? Uhh- that's still so hard to answer because I know it would be like changing who Bennett is and I'm not sure I'd want to do that. And since I can't, why even pretend that I could? What can change is how society views my sweet boy so I will focus on that.
Through all of this, I am a changed person because of Down syndrome. I will never be the same but I am thankful for that.
Bennett is truly like a little piece of heaven for me to hold. I know that sounds like a cliche but I don't know, there's just something about him and that extra 21st chromosome. That extra chromosome that was so unexpected but that has given me many things to be thankful for.