Why I Gave Up ‘Normal’ When My Son With Down Syndrome Was Born


A few years ago, I gave up ‘normal’. I rebuilt my old life with things I deem truly important, and drew it all in close to treasure dearly. As special needs parents, we’ve all experienced a version of this change. Events and ‘road bumps’ in life previously considered earth shattering, pale in significance to a fathers who have watched their sons recover from open heart surgery. Or mothers who have had their child turn blue in their arms while waiting for an ambulance.

I’ve had the occasional person make comments about seeing me motivated to find many new skills, since having my son Parker. They comment that I seem to have ‘found my calling’.

I haven’t found new skills. They were always there, and I wrote in private. I blogged anonymously, I wrote draft articles and stories and tucked them away, and I felt awkward considering making any part of my private life public. But I now utilize resources and work on things I previously would not have dreamed of doing, because I am not afraid to do so any more. There is more at stake than my precious ego. Not everyone always likes what I have to say, and that’s OK. The way my son is perceived by his world will be the most important thing in his life. His world and his community I help him to form, will help shape his own opinions of himself when I am no longer here daily to help guide his path. I can deal with comments and uncomfortable interactions. After all, I have to role model the behaviour I expect of him.

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There is a quote I heard once. ‘People are always the most open to change, in a crisis’.
When we start living our lives in a series of small battles, victories and breakdowns, living daily with emotions once reserved for exceptional life events, we appreciate how lucky and blessed we are. These can be a daily occurrence for some parents. As a parent of a child with additional needs, we have a heightened ability to reflect on that in these mini ‘war zones’ we can so regularly be exposed to. Watching my child master a skill (that took them tens, maybe hundreds of hours longer than a typical child), always gets me RIGHT in the feels.

So, when a special needs parent says to you, ‘this child is the best thing that ever happened to me’, don’t doubt them. Don’t try and break down reasons for it. Just know it is the truth, and even if they never verbalize their reasons to you, or themselves, it will remain a fact. This is living. Creating an opportunity to be a more empathetic, understanding and driven version of myself would not have been possible in this way without my son.

There is no ‘normal’ any more.
And there is no part of my life I could be more grateful I gave up.

 

giving up normal down syndrome


7 comments
Samantha Dalby - July 14, 2015

Kat you are such a talented writer that speaks totally from the heart. thankyou for writing down and articulating the thoughts,questions and answers so many of us have wanted to say. you have a way of making me stop and appreciate life xxx

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    Kat Abianac - July 14, 2015

    Thankyou! what a beautiful thing to take the time to write. It’s truly appreciated.

    Reply
nellainspired - July 13, 2015

What an amazing post! You articulated something that I could never quite explain and I need to thank you for it. Living in supposed crisis does wonders for bring the very best part of ourselves to the forefront, there is no time for fitting in a box. And YES YES YES ” There is no normal anymore” and I feel a much more open, accepting and celebrating individual because of it. How lucky we are to have such amazing sons 🙂

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Cheryl Mercer - July 12, 2015

I agree completely! We are no different then any other parent. I’m glad I had my son. And wouldn’t take anything for him.

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MommyChronicles - September 21, 2014

I can’t believe how you can almost speak my mind for me. I hear all the time, only special babies to special people or, I just couldn’t do what you’re doing. There’s nothing more special about me than anyone else aside from the amazing blue eyed boy I was given! Any parent in the same situation would do what they had to do for their child. That’s what parents are

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    Kat Abianac - July 14, 2015

    Yes! Exactly right.

    Reply
Donna West - August 2, 2014

Parker you are adorable sweet boy!!!!

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