This World Down Syndrome Day, Maria Rushe takes the opportunity to celebrate families who have been blessed with an extra chromosome.
It’s World Down Syndrome Day.
It’s a day to celebrate the extra chromosome that makes some people just a little bit more special.
One of the first images I saw on Instagram today was of my good friend Lee Gooch’s handsome little superhero, Noah.
And oh! How it melted my heart.
What an angelic, gorgeous and perfect little face. There is mischief in those eyes and he has his Daddy wrapped around his little finger by the looks of this. (Image shared with permission as always)
This image, like all of the beautiful images on my Timelines today, melts my heart, not only because of the joy it shows, but also because of the memories it provokes in me.
Lee and his family are blessed.
I know this, because my family too were blessed.
Actually, we still are.
A child with Down’s syndrome isn’t just their extra chromosome.A child with Down’s, is special.
Special in every sense of the word.
My own Aunty Carmel was special.
She was beautiful, mischievous and intelligent. She held more love in the tip of her finger than ANYONE I have ever known. She was witty, bold and an absolute rascal, loving nothing more than to get the craic going with whoever was visiting.
She loved to dress up, adored The Rose of Tralee and loved to dance. Every single person who walked through the door of my Grandparents’ home, fell head over heels in love with her. She was the most head-strong, determined and fearless Ladybelle I’ve ever met. She kept our family on our toes.
And she taught me many lessons.
The main one being that we are all different and that different is good.
I remember being in the Shopping Centre with her and my other Aunty when I was about 5.
Other kids were staring at Carmel. It was the first time I realised that she was different because I suddenly became aware of other people’s reactions to her.
Her reaction to one teenage boy who stopped to look at her? She stuck out her tongue at him, laughed her hearty laugh and waved at him mischievously as we pushed her past.
There and then, I was proud of her. Even at that young age, she taught me that you must NEVER let anyone bring you down, that you must be YOU, and that there IS no other You to be.
She was perfect.
She was the strongest woman I ever had the pleasure of knowing. Carmel had no tolerance for nonsense, seeing the world without political correctness or prejudice. She also had no filter! (I take after her like that!) She simply saw people. She recognized and delighted in kindness. She had no time for people who were not kind.
She was more brave and more caring and more wonderful than I could ever put into words and I miss her every day.
She was indeed my Special Aunty, but for so many more reasons than her Down’s syndrome.
Special doesn’t even start to describe her or the love that she gave or more importantly, the love that she demanded.
Pure and true…
Like the love on wee Noah’s face in that photograph and every day.
A family who have been blessed with an extra chromosome, know a love that is beyond words.
We miss Carmel every day and she lives on in our hearts and in our memories. Knowing and loving her is responsible for so much of who I am today. I may have inherited her intolerance to nonsense…
And I send my love and respect to every single family who are fighting every day for the rights of Down’s syndrome children, and who are helping to make people realise that the “S” in DS should not stand for “Syndrome”…
It stands for “Strong”.
It stands for “Smile”
…and it stands for Special.
(Lee has given me permission to post this pic. Thanks Lovely. And kisses to Noah and his beautiful Mummy and big brother too.)
Are YOU rocking the socks today? You can support Down’s syndrome Ireland by posting with #LotsofSocks4DSI