I have two children, two beautiful sons who I love with all of my heart. Skyler is my eldest and River is my youngest, he has Down syndrome.
Will River’s life be different to Skyler’s? Yes of course. It’s highly likely that River will always be dependent on us, be it just partly or fully. Time will tell where that is concerned and in the mean time we will just do what we can to enable him to have some form of independence. However, that doesn’t mean that River’s life will be of any less value, or any less amazing. He will have an incredible life full of love, fun, travel, learning and adventure and I believe that 100%. River’s life may be different to what society deems a ‘normal’ life, but it will not be less. I promise you that.
Do I have the same expectations for both of my sons? Absolutely! Do I put limits on River or believe there are things he can’t do because he has Down syndrome. No I don’t. Every single person on this earth has different abilities, we all have things we are good at and things we just can’t do. That’s life. I intend to find the things that both of my sons are good at, and I fully intend to focus on the positive things in Rivers life and not the negative. To me, that’s the difference between being happy and feeling sorry for yourself. The difference between feeling like your life is gift or feeling that you were dealt a bad hand. I will always do whatever I can to make River believe he was dealt a full house!
He may face a lot of things in his life, but having a mother who doesn’t believe in him won’t be one of them.
I’m not a parent who needs their children to be high achievers academically to feel proud of them. I’m not a parent who needs her children to be ‘winners’ or the best at something to feel proud of them. And I not a parent who needs her children to grow up into adults who have the best jobs, the best education, the best houses, the best car and a big bank balance to feel proud of them. I’m not saying that I don’t want them things for them as of course I do, but it’s not those things that will make me proud of them.
What I need to feel proud, are children who grow up to be good human beings. I want children who are happy and I want them to become adults who are happy. And that is why I have the same expectations for both of my sons.
- I expect both of my sons to be kind
- I expect both of my sons to be respectful
- I expect both of my sons to be helpers
- I expect both of my sons to work hard at whatever they choose to do in life
- I expect both of my sons to find something they are passionate about
- I expect both of my sons to challenge themselves and take risks
- I expect both of my sons to follow their dreams
- I expect both of my sons to reach their full potential in school
- I expect both of my sons to fight for what they believe in
- I expect both of my sons to love learning and never stop learning
- I expect both of my sons to be humble and to never feel like they are above others
- I expect both of my sons to accept other people regardless of religion, lifestyles or abilities
- I expect both of my sons to be successful at something. I don’t care what, anything at all, just something.
- I expect both of my sons to be proud of whom they are, and I promise to always be proud of who they are no matter what path they choose.
Most of all I expect both of my sons to be good people. In today’s world that is what we are lacking, and it’s what we need more of. Good people, who love and who are loved. I expect them to leave their mark on the world and make it a better place.
I expect them to be happy.