From the moment our children are born into this world, we begin to see ourselves in a whole new way. I mean this quite literally. Our children are masterpieces…uniquely designed with specific genetic codes that are 100% passed on from their moms & dads. From their laugh to their freckles, our children are an extension of us.
I remember when our first child, Lillie, was born how we quickly identified all of the similarities between her appearance and ours. She had her daddy’s eyes and my mouth and even her great-grandmother’s long fingers. Not only did we see the similarities, but our family and friends chimed in with their opinions too. The same ritual occurred when our second daughter, Emma Grace was born. And as the girls have grown into beautiful young ladies, we are constantly reminded by others how much they look and act like us. And they do.
When Beau and Bitty were born, things were a little different and to this day remain a little different. I think that’s because with Down syndrome, there are some common physical traits that exist…low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. And while Beau & Bitty certainly have many of these traits, they are also uniquely designed with specific genetic codes that are 100% passed on from Ben & me.
My brother recently gave me a photo album that archived my childhood. As I turned the pages, I was overwhelmed with memories and emotions. In each photo, I saw myself, but more interestingly, I saw my children…all four of my children.
I think we as a society sometimes forget that a diagnosis does not define a person. While Beau and Bitty both have Down syndrome, they are just as uniquely created as anyone else. They are our children…masterpieces that are 50% their dad and 50% me. Which explains why they also look and act like us, just like their big sisters do. From their freckles to their laughter, they are an extension of Ben and me.
As many times as I have heard people say how much Lillie and Emma Grace remind them of me, I can only recall a few instances when the same has been said about Bitty. But as I turn each page of the photo album and see myself as a little girl, I also see Bitty…which makes me smile. And as you can see, she looks just like me.