I have a quote on Emma Sage's website under 'Inspiration' that goes like this....
The most precious gift we can give a child is a positive and realistic self-image. Now how is this self-image formed? Not all at once, but slowly, experience by experience.” ~Dr. Hiam Ginott
and it has had me thinking about 'Defining Moments' in our lives where by experience or exposure, we have been profoundly changed or defined as a human being.
I would like to expand on this thought in an ongoing piece, but my first thoughts are focused on Trisomy 21/Down syndrome and the times in my life that my life experiences helped me form my thoughts on the topic.
I tried to think back to the first time that I was aware of Down syndrome. I couldn't come up with an exact moment or experience. I do know that I remember seeing a picture of a person with Down syndrome in a book at the library and reading the worlds 'Mongolian Idiot'.....it perplexed me the term, but never really stuck with me as something negative. I remember a few times as a young girl seeing a person with Down syndrome in the grocery store or at church. Again, those times don't stand out as anything negative. What I came up with as the first time that I truly acknowledge and began to understand what Down syndrome was, was during the TV show, 'Life Goes On', where one of the main characters 'Corky' had Down syndrome. I loved that show. I loved that family. I loved that character.
The next 'Defining Moment' for me was whne I started working at Smith Barney in NYC and a young woman who sat near me and we became friends, Barbara Patton, had a younger brother that had Down syndrome. Here was the first time in my life that Down syndrome was truly a part of my life,,,,a very small part, but a part that truly helped 'Define' who I am and my perceptions of Down syndrome. Barbara loved her brother,,,,as well as everyone in her family and community. She would tell of her adventures with her little brother over her weekends home and as the years unfolded, he also became an important part of my life. I loved hearing about him, the things he was up to, the unconditional love that he shared with everyone around him.
and 'Life Goes On'....
and 16 years later, our fourth child was born......blessed with Down syndrome, and the 'Defining Moments' of my life gave us the opportunity to welcome her into our hearts and home basking in love,,,,basking in joy,,,,basking in the knowledge that this was not a sad event, but a glorious event and that our little girl was a gift from GOD and we would learn so much from her life,,,,from her 'Defining Moments'.