Yesterday was an all-around amazing day. It started beautifully with Cutie #2 showing prowess voiding bodily fluid in the appropriate receptacle (read: She took a huge dump in the toilet without prompting). My disability awareness event featuring Miguel Lugo (writer of the short film, My Reality, and sitdown comedian – he has CP. He sits down. He’s funny. I promise) on campus was packed with students – many of whom I did not bribe to attend. One of my fantastic Transition to Independent Living (TIL) Students gave our guest speaker (and me) a tour of TIL facilities. She rocked the tour.
And, today, I get to finally meet Christina Elliott, California’s Executive director for CalABLE.
ABLE. Wow. Thank you, Steve Beck. Thank you, Brad Pitzele. Thank you, Jawanda Mast. Thank you, Sara Weir. Thank you, yes, even you, Joe Meares. Thank you, Debbie Revels. Thank you, Heather Sachs. Thank you, Becky Switalski. Thank you, Sara Wolff! Thank you to all of these advocates and so many more who never gave up. ABLE would not have become a reality without them all.
My life is charmed.
Here’s the thing. Down syndrome brought me to all of these things. All of the awesome that happened yesterday. Everything, including the pride over the colossal dump, occurred because of my life as the parent of someone with Down syndrome. Period. It never would have occurred to me to make a difference in the world in this capacity. I would love to think that I’m evolved, but I am not. I am human. I bet you are, too. Humanity is a pesky critter, isn’t it? Until we are in a situation, we often do not make impact. Even with opportunity, some people still don’t. That’s their little red wagon, as Grandma Reet would say. My parents did not raise me to sit on the sidelines, so off I go.
Life is more incredible when you start to recognize your gifts, accept them, and do something with them. We are not victims. Down syndrome is not the end of the world – unless you make it so. Nor is Down syndrome the savior. For me, it was, and remains, a turning point. An opportunity. A new path. A choice. You can do with it what you wish, but I choose action, love, acceptance, and gratitude.