We've had a few beautiful anniversaries to celebrate of late. Today is another. Today I celebrate my 8 years in Holland. It's been a study tour. I came as a tourist & became a foreign student. I've studied earnestly and learnt more than I could imagine.
Those who know my big girl see the world through her eyes- selflessly, naively, without limitations. After my last blog on hugging, Miss I gave a random hug to a mum in the carpark at school pick up. The mum then sent me a text telling me how awful her day had been and how that one act of kindness brightened her day. This is the way she lights up the world, and how she has taught me to be the same.
She has taught me & many others gratitude. Pure gratitude for the simple things in life. When you see how much harder she has to work just to achieve the same as her peers, it demands respect. She has earned that respect and we are all grateful.
I've never been the sort of person to stand by while injustice occurs, but she has truly given me a focus & direction in my life. She introduced me to my calling and I've been able to help so many others because of what she has taught me.
I was having a wonderful theological discussion with a friend last week when she expressed the stereotype of 'children with DS have such happy dispositions'. I was told that so many times just after she was born that I took photos of her crying just to prove that she was the same as every other baby.
That really does sum up what the last 8 years have been -people having expectations & Miss I smashing them. Milestones, growth charts, personality, academic ability - there have always been people who have stereotyped. While Miss I marches to the beat of her own drum and not to a generalisation, I have fought the good fight, for her, always for her, always in her name. Just to give her and others marginalised like her, the same as 'typical' children.
I know a beautiful mother in the US who contributes so much to her community and has brought so much to the lives of children with DS (like her daughter). She too is made to feel like she still has to fight for basic rights for her daughter simply because of the expectations and stereotypes others hold. It is an experience shared by many.
Despite all this, the constant uphill battle, the tears of tiredness, the lack of emotional regulation, the hours of take up time required.... The future is bright & full. There is no need to worry about tomorrow, it can worry about itself! We can conquer whatever comes before us! I know we'll still be here in a year's time triumphing over our struggles for there will undoubtably be struggles. Life is hard at times, but always joyful.
Happy Birthday my darling big girl! Thank you for everything.
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