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The EXTRA Family Favorite

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As 2022 is coming to a close this week, I can’t help but feel very privileged for this front row seat in Hudson’s life. I get to hear most all of his giggles. I get to watch him explore in a way my older two children didn’t. I get to celebrate the inch stones and I get to see the determination and effort it takes to meet these new challenges. Hudson is a miracle. More often than hearing “how lucky I am to have him”, many want to say to me “how lucky he is to have me”. I understand this and, yes, to be grateful, I know this is a compliment. The truth is my life is better because of him. I know I am a decent, law-abiding citizen who contributes to society and I love God. I know I am a good wife and strive to be a great mom and friend. Then came Hudson; I am now all of those things listed AND gladly so much more. My desires to change laws are from Huddy. My need to write is because of him. My love grew to infinity for a whole community of people I didn’t even know before he arrived. What is astounding to me is how many others feel blessed to be around my son; that he makes them better people, too. Hudson isn’t a one-off miracle, he’s actually 1 in 700 births every year. Many “Hudson’s” are touching lives daily and bringing much needed love to a world that needs it. Don’t take my word for it, read what others have to say about loving someone with Down syndrome:

Caterina Scorsone from Grey’s Anatomy:

“Beauty. Love. Peace. Contentment. Acceptance. Belonging. Freedom. Adventure. Blessings beyond my wildest dreams.”

She wrote this about her daughter, Molly.

Julie Newmar from Batman:

“He’s the cause of the great expansion of my outlook on life. He’s responsible for my understanding and practice of unconditional love. John is what makes my life great.”

Julie is talking about her son, John.

Kit Harrington from Game of Thrones:

“We had a wonderful loving upbringing in the same family and had a great time growing up, many times under the same roof and became close friends as well as cousins. My only major difference with Laurent is that he has Down syndrome.“ He went on to say, “ I feel lucky knowing someone with Down syndrome: his emotional intelligence is huge.”

Kit loves his cousin, Laurent, who has an extra chromosome.

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Rogers wrote a book about Robin. She lived only two years; but her presence changed them forever. Dale wrote a book called Angel Unaware. I have read this and it is a beautiful read:

Daddy (Roy) said, “No! We’ll keep her and do all we can for her, and take our chances.” Mommy (Dale) smiled then; she was glad, and she said what I had been waiting to hear her say: that You had sent me for some special reason, and they had no right to cast aside anything or anyone You had sent.

Jamie Foxx said this about his sister, DeOndra Dixon:

“It’s the way our family treats her. With DeOndra, we let her jump in the water and swim a little bit, so to speak. Our family just treats her like DeOndra. She goes everywhere we go. She’s usually the life of the party!”

Jamie built his home in a way that his sister could be near him. She passed away in 2020.

Sarah Palin wrote a letter (as if it were coming from God) about her son Trig:

"Trig's mom and dad were told early by doctors that the child 'may provide more challenges and more joy than what they ever may have imagined or ever asked for.

This new person in your life can help everyone put things in perspective... and get everyone focused on what really matters. The baby will expand your world and let you see and feel things you haven't experienced yet."

John McGinley from Scrubs (and more) wrote this:

"You go to the hospital your wife's in labor and you're doing the thing, and then it's very disorienting and scary and you beat yourself up and you go through a whole period of 'woe is me' and then you realize that this a gift, this child is the light, and if you can nourish that light and just let it shine, you have an opportunity to get closer to what I think is God.”

John and his son, Max, are working hard to put an end to the “R” word.

Rory Feek (musician) is raising his daughter, Indiana, alone after the passing of his wife, Joey. This is how he feels:

"Out of all the parents in the world, He has chosen us to care for and raise this special gift.

As Indy grows along with her bright spirit, he's learned that the possibilities are endless for her. "Indiana’s smile lights up not just the room, but the world,” he says. "I think she can be whatever she wants to be, and Joey and I did not know that. She just needs love, just like everybody else.

Michael and Lisa Gungor wrote a song called “Light” about their daughter, Lucy. Here are the lyrics:

"Light"

Your eyes, they opened

And love was spoken

The tears came tumbling dow

Your heart was broken

The words were spoken

The tears came tumbling down

And the blind gained sight

As we met our light

Oh the joy and fight

The gift of life

Your hands, the creases

Your feet, your breathing

You’re mine, you’re perfect light

And the blind gained sight

As we met our light

Oh the joy and fight

The gift of life

I can’t take my eyes off of you oh my Light

I can’t take my eyes off of you

Amanda Booth, a supermodel, was given her son’s diagnosis. She decided to meet people with Down syndrome to learn all she could. Here is what she said:

I instantly fell in love with the babies I was seeing, the encouraging parents, and the love they were sharing. I needed to be a part of that. I wasn’t scared of the reactions people would have, sharing our story wasn’t for them, but for the people who needed it, and I knew they’d find us.

Amanda’s son, Micah, has taught her how to be an advocate, too. Here is a snippet on this:

Now that Micah has grown into a very typical, tornado of a toddler, I’m able to give myself a little shift in my parenting needs: I am starting my advocacy for my son. I need people to see him for who he is. I need them to recognize his ability, and to allow themselves to give him the opportunity to succeed. I need them to not miss out on the love that he has to give. He won’t miss out, that’s my job. Here, I dare to undo all the stereotypes laid out before you. What is stronger in this world than love and bond? Life would be boring if it were easy. And Micah, it won’t be easy, but it would please me to watch you push hard, and to raise the bar.

Sally Phillips, actor and comedian, didn’t learn about her son’s diagnosis until he was 10 days old. She says this about her teenager, Olly:

“Life is 'more meaningful and happy' since the teenager's birth.”

'There’s a load of positives with having Down's syndrome and a load of wisdoms about being a human being and a load of huge bonds and blessing for families.’

Sally worked on a documentary in 2016. “A world without Down syndrome”. She was seeking answers to these questions: What kind of society do we want to live in? And who do we think should be allowed to live in it?

As I think of my answers to these hard questions, I know I want a world where people can say all these wonderful things about people they love dearly, no matter if they have an extra chromosome or not. A world where we encourage those who face challenges with the understanding that we will gain way more from them than they will gain from us. People who make the world better should be the easiest answer we have. My son makes the world better; my world and others benefit because he was born.

I could quote easily another 1000 momma’s I have met on our journey. The message is the same. They all love this life. They see their child with an extra chromosome as a gift. They feel like better versions of themselves because of this gift.

Our Supreme Court Justice, Amy Coney Barrett, said this about her son, Benjamin:

“He is the unanimous FAVORITE of the family!”

In our family, I mean to imply our entire Down syndrome family, this is a common description used to describe those born with Down syndrome: The Unanimous Favorite! Being so worldly common, it has to be true… The EXTRA family favorite!

I would love for you to write below on this post if you love someone with Down syndrome. Please share with us. It’s how we bring needed change, together.