Friday, March 21 is World Down Syndrome Awareness Day.
This darling boy is the son of a very dear friend. Sara, an Arizona-born cowgirl embodies all the finest qualities of ranch gals. She trains horses with a gentle hand, teaches and counsels children, and hardly says a bad word about anyone. The worst I ever heard her say about a former boyfriend is, "He was not a very nice boy." Her husband Marty is also a kind man, takes all sorts of teasing from her friends (like me) with good humor, and has a great heart.
The Bug, as he is lovingly called, is a beautiful, happy boy. He has the best laugh in the world. (Well, second to my son's baby laugh. That was enchanted music, but I'm biased.) As Bug approaches his first birthday in May, he's reached those milestones every parent brags about or frets over: lifting his head, rolling over, sitting up, smiling, laughing, wriggling, crawling, getting into things, walking, burbling--oh, and did I mention getting into things?
This is a fortunate child to be born to loving parents who live in a tight-knit community of family and friends. We all know he'll face more challenges than average as he matures, but he will have a strong support system around him to help him learn to meet each obstacle and deal with it--in his own way and time. He will grow up in a ranching/farming environment, well-acquainted with dogs and horses, where the insane pressure of modern urban life is not as much of a factor as it could be. He'll face the incredible cruelties other children can inflict, as we all know will happen, but he'll also be surrounded with acceptance and encouragement in a way few people experience. I have no doubt The Bug will learn to achieve through determination, hard work, and love--just like his folks.