How My Daughter Has Changed Me For The Better
Our society places too much value on being perfect and doing things a certain way.
The night of my daughter Sienna’s birth, I remember watching my husband sleep and staring into space, a million thoughts rushing through my head. We had just found out that she had Down syndrome. No one knew yet. It was our family’s information to process and digest. I am ashamed of the worries that raced through my mind. I look back on those anxious thoughts and realize just how far we have come.
What thoughts raced through my mind?
Can I do this? Will we still be able to go out for weekly dinners? Will we be able to travel? Can I do this? Will we have to leave the city for a different school district? Can we afford to raise a child with Down syndrome? Can we do this? Will her older sister, Haley’s life be affected negatively? Will she be pushed out of the spotlight? How will this affect our marriage? Can I do this? Is this my fault? I don’t think I can do this.
Five years later, I not only know I can do this, I am grateful for the ride and our tour guide. Sienna has taken me on a journey of self discovery. Sharing my truth and our story has given me a greater purpose. Sometimes, I question if I share too much. Then I remember reading blogs that same night those questions raced through my mind. I remember the reassurance that came from reading other mother’s stories.
I laugh at those questions now. We do everything we did before Sienna came into our lives. That doesn’t mean things haven’t changed. The changes have made our family better. They have brought us closer. We have slowed down. We place more value on our precious time together. Life isn’t a race and there is no competition. Our society places too much value on being perfect and doing things a certain way. Sienna does things her own way. We have found that we like her way. We love seeing the world from her viewpoint, and as she steers our course, we continue to see things in a beautiful new light.
During this journey of self discovery, I have become an advocate. I have learned that life’s greatest joy comes from helping others. I have learned there are people willing to help us, and it’s okay to accept that help. Unfortunately, until something directly affects you, you don’t know what you don’t know.
I didn’t know I needed to become more brave. Sienna has made me push myself out of my comfort zone. I am so grateful for that push, because I don’t think I would have gotten there on my own. If she weren’t in our lives, I would have missed out on so much life has to offer. I would still be seeing things through my self centered lens. Sharing my truth has opened me to some of the greatest human truths – patience, hope, connection, wonder, and finally self discovery.
I have grown. I spend time helping others in the community. I advocate for her rights. I don’t take health care for granted. I take things as they come. I celebrate everything. I laugh more. She makes us all laugh more. I have learned the value of what’s really important.
It was recently Down Syndrome Awareness month, and I wanted to express my gratitude for our path. I am grateful to Sienna for giving me a new lens. She has enriched our lives in countless ways. Her presence in my life has liberated me in a way only love can.
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