When adding a little extra… a universal connection

Thought # 1 Do you ever look at another person and think “they look nothing like me?” Or you may have blonde hair and your friend has brown, your may be tall and dark skinned and someone else blond and short… Their are so many characteristics in the human race that make us visually different from one another.  Sometimes the first thing you see is what color a person is, or how they are dressed or what their parents looks like in order for you to configure in your mind where this person hales from. China? Germany? Africa? We are a culture that is so dredged with an obsessive media who focuses our exposures to be primarily based on physical appearance. From an early age we are usually able to point out obvious differences.  This may sound like a simple observation, because it is.

Thought # 2  (reminder I am not a scientist, nor do I claim to have any more knowledge than that of my recent DS books or College Biology class taught me) Two parents come together to make a baby. The baby takes some genetic material from both (23/23) the mother and father and becomes their own.  It is a basic principle, will of God, nature at it’s finest… but then when you add just a little bit extra (hanging on to the 21st Chromosome, sometimes an act of God’s purpose as mitosis happened or a carrier sperm or egg) something absolutley amazing happens. The gap between races and faces closes really quick. Like slamming a door on what you think a child should look like to what a little bit extra does. 

Thought # 3 When I was 7 week pregnant with Grady, I was visiting NC and had the chance to play  with my family at a splash pad at Tanglewood Park outside Winston Salem, NC. During my day trip with my cousin and her family we shared the park with the Local YMCA day camp for Special Needs Children. I remember a bit of anxiety I felt that day, being surrounded by all the children who had some form of disability as I was out of my comfort zone and element.  I remember pulling my son away from the water wheel chair so it didn’t run over his feet or taking an extra second to witness the children with DS and their common characteristics.  I felt anxious and overwhelmed as a pregnant mother as I didn’t understand their disabilities and couldn’t imagine a child of mine having a life full of challenges. It was a slow motion surreal moment as I looked around that day and took in all the children and my “typical” healthy child running alongside. I am not going to sit here and write about some inspirational and spiritual moment I had at Tanglewood Park, no I had a emotional pull from somewhere (I now know from where) that was beyond my own understanding and comprehension at that point in time. I was out of my comfort Zone but so absolutely in tune with my surroundings simultaneously. Something that day, rocked my maternal soul. My cousin recalls that day at the park, and picked up on my anxiousness, we have recently discussed it and it’s possibility of a “God Wink” moment. Wouldn’t you know the circle would come around 15 weeks later. Perhaps it was Grady’s and God’s first way to share his secret.

July 2009: Tanglewood Park Splash Pad, NC , perhaps my first "God Wink" DS moment?


Thought #4 Back to that moment where for the first time in my whole life I took in the characteristics that is Downs (at the splash Pad), Today, I think it is absolutely one of the most amazing works of God, that when an extra chromosome is added a child develops some form or another of  similar physical characteristics. How two parents can be 100% different looking than another set of parents and both their children with DS can look like they are from the same family? That is where I see God at work in one of the mightiest ways, because after all…we are all really closer than we like to think.  All you have to do is add one extra chromosome and the color and nationality commonalities come crashing down to unite a group of people on a whole different level. After all we were made in the image of Christ and he can be the only one to make this amazing effect happen. 

Thought #5 By making this realization, that might be rather rudimentary to some, I thought perhaps I was giving into the same idealism’s that society does, by pointing out physical characteristics and shedding more importance and light onto it than needed. But, given my realist side, I can see both sides of the fence. It’s called BD and AD (before diagnosis and after diagnosis) or eyes shut and eyes open. Looking from the perspective of Before Diagnosis, I believe their will be some form of immediate classification that is given to my son by first glance by a good amount of people. I would like to hope at this point in time, and before I have even met my baby boy, that with that classification comes a possible “god wink” moment for someone.  Hopefully someday the person who doesn’t understand can be free to look into the eyes of God’s creation with grace and compassion. Maybe someone else will be able to see a beautiful universal connection of souls… So by my understanding of both sides, I am hoping I am one step closer to helping.

lastly, it is funny how often life can make a full circle. I always keep the door to moving back to NC open, for some reason or another a huge part of my heart is still there. Maybe it was the people, or the food, or the presence of God found so easily in the silliest places, like the line at the grocery store or when taking a walk. Well anyways, when researching different States and their DS support systems, I ran across Tanglewood Park in NC, and go figure it is the home of the Buddy walk for the Piedmont Area. The home page for PDSSN.com had a group shot of the DS community taken at Tanglewood Park. I thought it was pretty neat (yes I said neat) I am so ready to stare into the eyes of Grady. Almost 34 weeks pregnant, and so eager.  We have our next ultrasound on the 19th… can’t wait.


8 thoughts on “When adding a little extra… a universal connection

  1. Christie Taylor says:

    I am absolutely in LOVE with this post! We call ’em “God Nod’s” here but how wonderful that you experience them too and know them for what they are! You know, I had never thought so deeply on the characteristics of kids with Down syndrome but I love how you reflect on it here. “All you have to do is add one extra chromosome and the color and nationality commonalities come crashing down to unite a group of people on a whole different level. After all we were made in the image of Christ and he can be the only one to make this amazing effect happen.” That statement gave me goosebumps. Great post! Grady and Mason and Paul are so very lucky to have you for a momma and a wife! GOD BLESS you all real good!

  2. Melissa says:

    Great post! I had one of the God wink moments not too long after my initial screen came back with higher odds of Ds. We live in a small town and before then I don’t ever remember seeing anybody in town with Ds. After our screening came back I saw 3 kids at the store, all at different times but within about 3 days of each other, that all had Ds. It was a comforting to know that if our baby does have Ds s/he won’t be the only one in town.

  3. Amy says:

    I must be in facebook-mode, because I was searching for a “like” button on Christie’s post!

    I agree with her, what an AMAZING perspective you have- it’s so true and something I would have never been able to put in to words the way you did.

    We can’t wait to meet your little miracle- and see you all!!

  4. Erin says:

    I really love this post, brought tears to my eyes. I did not know that my son had DS when I was pregnant but I remember having a conversation with my sister when I was about 22 weeks. We were talking about children with disabilities and out of the blue I say, ” If I were to have a child with a disability I would want it to be DS.” I am not sure why I said that as I had never met anyone with DS. I believe that was my “God Wink” moment.

  5. Leah says:

    Hello! I’m Leah, mom to 13 year old Angela who has Down syndrome. My “God wink” happened when I was 15 years old. Well, there were a few of them actually, but the one I remember was when I was 15. I had always done lots of babysitting, and childcare related activities. Then, right out of high school, I started working in a center based respite program (like a special needs daycare) and by the time I was 20 I was running the program and bringing kids home who had a wide variety of disabilities.

    Anyway, when I was 15 we were on a motorcycle trip (cuz i grew up on the back of my mom’s bike!). We were in the Grand Canyon, standing on the edge of somewhere looking at the glorious scene before us. Well, everyone else was. I was busy staring at an adorable baby in a backpack. I stepped away from my parents and played with the baby. His smile was spectacular!

    Fast forward 14 years. I’d just come out of an emergency c-section 5 weeks early, and my new daughter was loaded into a helicopter and flown away. I had just been told by my husband that the doctor thought she might have a “little bit of Down syndrome.” I’d only held my baby for 2 minutes before she was wisked away. My mom, standing at the foot of my hospital bed, let out a big sigh and said, “Well, now it all makes sense, doesn’t it?” I asked what she was talking about. “Do you remember the Grand Canyon, and the baby in the backpack? That baby had Down syndrome. And all those kids you were always bringing home. God was just getting your heart ready for what was ahead.”

    I think we all have those moments, but I think some of us are more aware of them than others. Anyway, many blessings to you and Grady. I’ll close with this link: My daughter turned 13 in June, and my birthday blog for her was really for new parents. http://gardenofeagan.blogspot.com/2009/06/13-years-ago.html

  6. skiingthroughlife says:

    Leah- I know it has been over a month, but i was re-reading comments and started to scratch my head because I Grady has completely taken all my brain power and memory and I could have sworn I emailed you back, but I can’t remember. I read your blog the one when she turned 13, and it stole my heart. It is really awesome to hear and see an older child with DS and a mother with so much love and compassion advocating on…

    Thank you for the blessings, as you are already one to me.

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