Receiving a birth diagnosis, can be an out-of-body experience? I could see myself in the hospital with my husband and the doctor, but I didn't "feel" like it was really happening. The emotion and questions come so fast and so powerful. In a two minute time-span, I truly believe that that 500 emotions, fears, and questions went ripping through my body. How we remember anything from those first 24 hours is beyond me.
Most of the questions we asked during that time have been answered since Hailey has been with us....how do we care for her? what do we do? who do we talk to? etc...I think you get the picture. Then there were the questions that we may never have answers to...what will her future look like? will we outlive her? etc. Let's not forget about the irrational ones...can we still name her Hailey? What?
We had several questions that centered around the other two important people in our lives...our boys. How do we tell them about Down syndrome? How will Down syndrome affect them? How can we do this to them...actually this one is irrational now that I think about it?
I'm going to be honest. I seriously don't think our boys would have even asked about anything if we wouldn't have told them. We didn't tell them that she even had Down syndrome until November of last year...9 months after she was born. We were on our way to a new parent dinner with our Down syndrome association. I figured they might ask what DS was since it would have been said several times through dinner. She is their sister. They know nothing else. It doesn't bother them that she does things slower. It doesn't bother them that she has therapies. She exercises and practices. We tell the boys that you don't get better at sports if you don't practice. That is what Hailey's therapies are doing for her. Helping her get better at accomplishing things.
They know that their sister is:
Sneaky...here she is hiding around the corner because she grabbed one of their token necklaces that she knows she shouldn't have.
Persuasive...the look she gives them when they tell her no or she is begging for something.
Annoying...she climbs on this boy 24/7.
Attention seeking...if yelling at them doesn't work, she climbs on them to get their attention.
Loving...they know that their sister loves them more than anything in the world and the feeling is mutual.
My daughter having Down syndrome did not take anything away from the boys. She has enriched their lives. She is the annoying little sister that I'm sure will bug them until the day they move out (and probably beyond!). They are learning about a whole new world. They are learning we celebrate big and little milestones. They are learning to be more compassionate. They are learning what can be achieved with hard work and persistence.
Just another way that Hailey is a perfect fit for our family. The boys love their little sister to the moon and back. Her smiles and giggles prove she feels the same about them!
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