And you know what that means? No?
It means I’m going to talk about my favorite human on planet earth, my bubba, goober, partner in crime, and right hand woman, my big sister.
I guess I should start to explain why Down Syndrome Awareness Month exists. You know about Down Syndrome, right? Correct. I could go into statistics, talk about the extra chromosome 21, what you can expect health wise in a person with Down Syndrome…etc.
But here’s the issue. That-talking about all those things, just makes my sister Dani sound different from myself. And the complete and honest truth is, she is not.
Down Syndrome Awareness Month exists so hopefully someday, when it comes up in conversation that my sister has Down Syndrome, I don’t get met with responses of, “I’m sorry” or “That must be hard.” Because I don’t need you to be sorry. I’d be sorry if she didn’t have Down Syndrome, because she wouldn’t be Dani.
It’s so someday, my sister won’t be written off as any less capable, wonderful, or appreciated due to her awesome extra chromosome.
Down Syndrome Awareness Month doesn’t exist to further educate people on the differences. It exists to make people aware of the abilities and accomplishments of some of the greatest people on Earth.
And let me tell you, Dani’s accomplishments are not few in number.
Dani is the greatest person I’ve ever met and I’m glad I always have her by my side. Let’s just start with that. She is, and will always be that.
She’s my person. She’s my other half.
Dani is the person who taught me all the things a laundry basket could be. A rocket ship, a car, a very efficient way to pull me around the house, a place for cuddles.
She helped teach me colors, numbers, and my ABC’s, always informing me that the color purple is the best color. (We agree to disagree.)
Her laugh is contagious, and she laughs A LOT. She’s funny, spunky, and sassy, and you never want to get in between her and chocolate.
She’s my definition of love and acceptance. She sees no stereotypes, no preconceived opinions, and can always find the good in someone. Always. She goes against the grain of the world and loves everyone, no matter what.
She’ll learn your name within the first few moments of meeting you, and she’ll never forget it.
She taught me how to love Harry Potter. (become obsessed might be a better term)
She has an amazing group of friends. They love going to movies, pool parties, or cooking together.
She goes to school, and does really well there.
She taught me how to dance like no one is watching, sing like you don’t care, and how to have a truly great jam session. She knows how to have fun.
She texts me 165 times in a row if I don’t respond quickly.
She’s the best caretaker when I’m sick. She doesn’t let me leave her sight.
OH. And she gives the best hugs in the WORLD.
My big sister is my hero. She’s strong, resilient, and has such a bright, infectious light.
So Dani, here’s to you. I hope you continue reminding everyone, every day, that you deserve to be seen, heard, loved, and that you are a girl on a mission. (I think I got that from you.)
Okay, you are aware, but I challenge you to go a step further.
Try acceptance. Move past a place of discomfort.
- Hire someone with Down Syndrome.
- Teach someone with Down Syndrome-Dani loves learning new things with her friends.
- Speak to someone with Down Syndrome. Too often Dani and I are greeted with stares. Just come up and say hi!
Awareness. Acceptance. It all begins with us.
Let’s make the world a better place.