Eight years ago, Parker…

In those early days when my brain was a sponge and the internet was my textbook, I knew so much more about Down syndrome and so much less about who you truly are than I do now.

The well meaning paediatrician bent down and whispered to me you would be stubborn,

I didn’t know that meant you wouldn’t let me get the front door, pay for my coffee, or take the rubbish out without you doing it for me.

The nurse knelt next to me and told me you’d be good with feelings,

I didn’t know that was code for such intense emotions right there on your face that our hearts break and heal alongside yours daily.

The therapist leant in to remind me you would walk to the beat of your own drum,

But I had no idea you were about to slow down my entire life and help me see the beauty that’s always been in front of me.

The GP leant toward me and, gently holding my hands, reminded me that my life would get harder from here,

Then I watched my community expand and love you unconditionally as much as I do.

I only ever knew what I could learn and be told. Back then, I hadn’t felt and known who you were.

Having known you eight years longer now, I’ve seen so many beautiful versions I know my job is to always keep sharing you.

Because today, a parent finds out their baby has Down syndrome. And you, new parent, like me, will only know what you are told.

But we’re all just stories in the end. And your child will write their own story too.

Because when YOUR child walks to the beat of his own drum

No one will ever lean over and tell him not to make it a good one.

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