Friday, October 30, 2015

By the light of the moon

    I remember worrying about Caden's future after getting his prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. There were a lot of unknowns with his multiple health issues and I wasn't very familiar with life with an intellectual disability. I worried that our fast-paced world might leave my son behind and that he might miss out on a lot of experiences.

    This morning well before dawn, I was startled awake by Caden yelling from his bedroom, "Mommy! Daddy! Come here, quick!" In a panic, I raced down the hallway to find him standing in the dark at his window.

    "What's wrong?" I asked as I moved forward to make sure he wasn't injured, bleeding, vomiting, or suffering from any other scary nighttime malady. 

    "The moon!" he gushed, pointing outside. I took a peek and indeed, the moon was stunning. Nearly full and glowing like a huge spotlight in the sky, it illuminated our entire backyard.  Though the scene was a daily familiarity, the bright darkness made the landscape appear foreign. It reminded me of old black and white negatives with the colors reversed so that images must be studied for a bit before they are recognized. 

    While I was sleeping to recharge for another busy day, Caden was the one catching an incredibly beautiful moment. And he wanted to share the world he was seeing with his mommy and daddy. Had I been awake first, I most certainly would not have given the moon its proper due if I had noticed it at all. Soon the sun would rise and our surroundings would return to normal. I stood at the window cherishing the fleeting vision.

    I used to worry that Caden would miss out on a lot by not being able to keep up in a fast-paced world. He reminds me that sometimes that fast-paced world causes us to miss out on a lot. Thank you, son, for waking me up to the moon.

    Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Celebrate the gap!

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month! Three cheers for that third 21st chromosome!

Did you know that certain physical characteristics are more common with Down syndrome? These features include almond shaped eyes that slant up rather than down, a flattened facial profile, shorter height, low muscle tone and excessive flexibility, a simian crease ( a single crease across the palm of the hand), and small ears. An individual may have most or just a few of these traits.

Another common feature is called sandal gap which is an increased space between the big toe and the rest of the toes. Medically, it may be considered a deformity but functionally, it is a splash pad jackpot. Caden can funnel water through that gap and hose people down like nobody's business. And by "people", I mean me. He's my little terror in water parks!