Aren’t we all so lucky that we are on a journey?
That none of us can say we’ve arrived, we’ve made it, we’ve become the perfected version of ourselves that we’ve aspired to be all these years?
That’s the preface to my thoughts for tonight (which by the way have very little to do with Down syndrome, and instead have a lot to do with me), because by no means am I trying to portray that I have “arrived” in some way, or that I have made it and can now stop trying because I am perfect. Far. From. It.
I am growing.
I used to automatically think that everyone and everything in the world was out to get Jake. That every situation was against him, and that it was my job to defend him against every single person in life (there were no boundaries here, I even remember fighting with my hubby and having it come out that I even felt I had to defend Jake against him, which is ludicrous!). I fancied myself a scrappy little fighter, getting into the ring and going head-to-head with the world, all on behalf of my son, who couldn’t do it for himself. The defensive lens was the one through which I viewed every conversation, every interaction, every scenario that happened to Jake. You know, they say that once you build a worldview, everything is perceived through the lens of said viewpoint. And my view was that the world was out to get Jake, and I was the sole, staunch defender of my young son.
Can I tell you a secret?
It’s just not true.
The world is not out to get Jake.
I am not the lone soldier on the battlefield, going to war for the welfare and well-being of my kiddo.
In fact, the longer I travel this journey of being touched by disability, the more apparent it is that my worldview is cracked, flawed, and being broken apart, piece by piece. Have we had some negative experiences in our journey so far? Of course we have. Nothing is perfect, everything is a work in process. But the response of others to our son Jake has been overwhelmingly positive. People are drawn to him. Friends and strangers alike welcome him with open arms and treat him as they would treat any other child. They love him with a fierceness that springs from places they didn’t even know existed in them. And as I grow and begin to let go of the worldview that I desperately clung to, despite its flawed nature, I have started to come to the realization that others in my world are with me in the desire to support and defend Jake. Slowly but surely, I am changing my tune. I am seeing the love and acceptance that runs deep in our circles. I am gradually, albeit imperceptibly at times, chiseling away at the chip on my shoulder to reveal a new worldview, one that is full of hope, promise, and positivity.
Look at me, I’m growing!