Twenty nine years ago we welcomed our first baby into the world... he was born just two weeks after I turned twenty, and when I held him in my arms for the first time, I felt like I was a new person. It's hard to describe that transition ... I just know that one day I was a wife, and the next I was a mother - and from that moment forward I was connected forever to another human being... a part of my heart was now living outside of my body.
It doesn't matter that my baby is 29 today - he will forever be "my baby", and no matter where he is or what he's doing, who I am is wrapped up in who he is... and the same holds true with all of my babies.
I've heard people claim that motherhood doesn't define them, but for me that's a perfect description of who my children are to me. They make me who I am. I can do a lot of things in life - invest myself in hobbies and interests and passions - but there is nothing that has a hold on my heart like my children. I'm so grateful - so, so grateful - for the privilege of giving them life.
If you would have told me twenty nine years ago, that this day - March 21st, World Down Syndrome Day -would one day hold another special place in my heart ... I honestly don't know what my reaction would have been. As a twenty year old first time mommy, whose idea of perfection was the tiny golden haired baby she held tightly in her arms ... I truly don't know that I would have embraced my future with wide open arms. I don't know that I would have understood the genuine joy and honor - the privilege ! - of being entrusted with not just one, but two designer gened little girls.
But Lily changed me. And the transformation was just as drastic, just as eye opening, as the one I experienced when Jason was first placed in my arms. If the birth of my first baby opened my eyes to the miracle of life and forever changed the person that I was, then the birth of my tenth child widened that perspective one hundred fold, and made me into the person I am today.
And Madison was just the icing on the cake.
Today, tens of thousands of families across the world are celebrating the GIFT that their loved ones with Down syndrome are.
We celebrate our loved ones, not in spite of their differences, but because of them. Lily and Madison were uniquely created - there was no mistake here, they arrived in life exactly who they were meant to be. I believe that with all my heart.
Today, more than ever, I am so honored to have been given the gift of raising my girls.
In honor of this day, I've joined with my fellow Ds mama and advocate, Krista Ewert, to help promote a very special book she wrote called This Is Ella. You can read more about Krista's project HERE.
To help celebrate World Down Syndrome Day, Krista is giving away one copy of her fabulous book, This is Ella, to one of Lily's readers here on A Perfect Lily.
This book will be available in November of 2017, and the winner's copy will be mailed to them at that time.
To be entered to win, please visit Krista's This Is Ella, kickstarter page HERE, and then come back saying you did so in the comment section below.
For a bonus entry, please leave a comment telling me how Lily and Madison - or others you know with Down syndrome - have impacted your life.