Thank you to Leah for asking me to be a guest contributor on her blog today in honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month. First I want to say how very much I love October because I get to hear about my darling and her exploits every day. And Cora is indeed my darling. I just can’t imagine thinking about her in any other terms.
I am so grateful on so many levels that I have Cora in my life. She sweeps me off my feet with her sweet personality and winning smile. She makes me laugh with her funny little jokes that are actually quite clever. I love to watch as she hams it up with her extended family looking on and applauding while she beams knowing she is the cause of their merriment. Even on those ornery days, I can’t help but smile and think how wonderful it is that she is here and is such a big part of me. I’ve come a long way since the day I heard her diagnosis and felt so sad that Leah and Nick were now burdened with such a child instead of the lovely and intelligent one they had every right to expect. Thankfully, I have learned that Cora actually IS the lovely and intelligent child they expected. I always considered myself to be an open-minded person with not a bit of prejudice in my soul. Alas, I know now that was not the case, but I do believe that has changed. If not for Cora, I would still be, albeit unknowingly, stuck in a mindset that placed her and people like her in a category that is biased and inherently unjustified. I thought people like Cora were not smart. (She shames me with her intelligence.) I thought people like Cora couldn’t learn. (She currently has an over 600 word signing vocabulary and continually astounds me with what she knows and understands.) I thought people like her were destined to be a burden on their families. (She could not be more loved, cherished and welcomed than she is.) I didn’t even consider that people like Cora could be artistic. (She loves to sing and makes up her own songs and remembers and repeats them later.) She is quite the sweet, loving, clever and talented girl.
You can tell by now, I’m sure, how very impressed I am by this charming little girl. I am so looking forward to watching her grow up to be a lovely young woman as she continues to learn who she is and how she will affect the world. And she will affect the world. Even if it is only her little corner of it, this is a better world for having Cora in it.