Last week when we found out about baby boy’s Down Syndrome, I reached out to a man I know in town with a great family and a Down Syndrome daughter to just talk and start a relationship with their family to help us begin learning and understanding more. Last night we were invited over to their home to talk, get to know each other better and learn all about their daughter.

They have 5 kids and it happened to be their youngest son’s birthday. I know this family from Church and our tight-knit community, but not intimately enough to quite know what to expect. When we drove up, not knowing of the b-day celebration, there were literally 5-6 other cars in the driveway and we could see a whole bunch of people gathered around the dinner table visible through the glass double doors to their home. Needless to say, we were maybe a little apprehensive to start with and the big group of people made us wonder if we were walking into some sort or parenting intervention :-)

We approached the door and were welcomed into the house. They told us of the b-day celebration and introduced us to everyone and it was just awesome, immediately, to see the love and energetic dynamic of the family. They introduced us to their daughter with Downs. She is adorable, shy and clearly sweet as birthday cake…which we were promptly offered!

Then, we went into the living room with the parents to start talking. They grabbed a bunch of photo albums of their daughter to show us everything she’s been through and how completely “normal” it was. I have all of the same scrap books of my childhood. That was great to see and reassuring in countless ways.

It must be said that these people and their kids are probably the happiest and most loving group of people I could imagine exist in the world and it doesn’t seem the least bit phony or forced…purely genuine happiness and love. They also weren’t the least bit shy to share their stories or join in the convo – at different times through our several-hour chat, different kids and girlfriends popped in and joined the conversation, adding in some great perspective.

We could have talked all night and nearly did. Even when we tried to end things knowing it was getting late, as we started to get up, the talk kept going and we stayed another hour. They just felt like old friends and they are so inspiring to me that I wanted to stay and keep talking. We’ll keep the convo going in future get-togethers, I know.

One thing I took away from last night, above all, was one thing that literally every member of the family said, “Congratulations!”. They said it as anyone who would find out we are pregnant would say it, but they all know that baby boy has Downs. I feel like “congratulations” isn’t something we’ll be hearing much from people going forward because they’ll be focused on the Downs and immediately go to feelings of sadness and pity. These folks immediately associated our situation with happiness. That has left me with a great feeling and one that will keep my positivity staying an an up-tick.

So, if you’re reading this and you haven’t seen us since hearing this news, congratulate us! We are excited. We are having a baby boy. Our family is growing. Our circle of friends is growing. Our son is going to make us grow in so many ways we could have never imagined. There is a lot to be congratulated for.

Thanks to that special family for welcoming us into their homes and into their lives. Their spirit and love is something we are looking forward to having in our lives going forward.

AND…Happy 8th Wedding Anniversary to Chelle. We are on life’s journey together and even in moments when life has taken an unexpected path, we’ve got each other’s hand to hold and that’s enough to make it through.

-CH

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