This past weekend, my family traveled back to Indiana to attend my 20 year class reunion...***gasp! I can't believe it has been 20 years. I've mentioned before how rural the area was where I grew up. Our graduating class was 74 people. Everyone knew everyone. Some of our parents attended school together. Our teachers knew our parents. Most of us had siblings in the same grade, too. You knew everyone and you knew their story. Graduating from a small school like that and entering the real world can be like a fish out of water. It is hard leaving people that you have known for a decade. In the end, I did. I graduated college and for the most part, never really went back. Most of the classmates at the reunion, I have not seen for 20 years. Thankfully with the help of technology, we have kept in contact or reunited over the last few years with Facebook.
I was nervous attending my reunion Saturday. I graduated co-valedictorian of my class and now I am a stay-at-home mom. I worried about what to wear (unfortunately, having 3 children and 20 years, has caused me to add a little weight since high school). I've always lacked self-confidence so I was worried about what people would or wouldn't say about Hailey. We grew up in a small community and there were not many people with Down syndrome in it.
I didn't give my class or myself enough credit. I was presently surprised. There was no pink elephant...I didn't get on my soapbox. Every person approached me and gushed about Hailey. How they love her squishy face...how they love her dimples...they love the two little pigtails...and her one sock on, one sock off. Pictures of her bring smiles to their faces and they look forward to the next. Some told stories about people they know with Down syndrome. Some told stories of other people they know with special needs. One friend spoke of a cousin that has been given higher than normal odds for having a child with Down syndrome. I gladly gave my contact information, but also told her not to push her. One even commented how much she would love to adopt a child with Down syndrome. We spoke of her heart surgery. The worry...the waiting...the relief. We spoke of other obstacles we have overcome over the last 20 years.
It was great catching up with dear friends. We always say that Down syndrome does not define our children. It was so fabulous to know that others see it the same way! Hopefully, we get to reconnect and visit again before the next reunion!
|Part of our class. I wish more could have made it!|
|Me with 3 of my best friends ever|