my dearest shilo.
on days like today, it seems like the odds just keep stacking up against you. nothing new or large was discovered. just little things along the way with another, 'oh and she also has this going on.' some days, i am completely overwhelmed by it all. not because of how it affects me, but because of how it affects you. so i wanted to share a few things with you.
first of all, people are going to call you 'retarded.' i will do my best to educate (as will papa, and i'm certain your warrior protector, abigail ) people that, that word is ugly, hurtful, and unnecessary, no matter what the circumstance they are using it in. but, mama can't protect you from the world, no matter how hard i try. so be ready to hear that word. and when you do, please know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. you are beautiful. you are strong. you are intelligent.
second of all, lots of people; doctors, teachers, strangers, are going to expect less of you. i will not. i will call you to all you are capable of. sometimes you may feel i'm being unkind. i'm not. i love you too much to do everything for you or feel sorry for you. instead, i'm going to tell you that you will have to work four times as hard to accomplish what some people do with no thought going into it. and when you accomplish those things, because you will, we will cheer a hundred times louder than anyone else ever has. and when you accomplish those things, you will feel a pride that is indescribable.
some days, it may seem that all that life has handed you is unfair. and it is. but dwelling on the unfairness of life does not get anyone anywhere. some people seem to walk through life never experiencing the bumps. some people seem to be continually climbing mountains. some people have small hills to climb, and they shout, and yell, and dance about as if they want everyone to believe they are climbing a mountain. some of the most amazing people out there are the ones who are climbing mountains, and still smiling. you can do it baby girl. you can face life's unfairness, it's harshness, and it's challenges, and you can still smile. you already do.
there are people who don't see the value in your life. but let me tell you, they have never seen the way you smile with your whole body. how your face squints up, and your toothless gums show. and how every last inch of you just wiggles with joy when you smile. they see life through a very limited lens. and the filter on that lens keeps those who are different out of their sight. and for that, i am sad. because you, my daughter, are a type of beauty that everyone should get to experience. given the chance to do this all over again, knowing what we know now, i would fall in love with you all over again.
you will be given lots of labels in your life, well beyond your diagnoses of Down syndrome. some are already known, some will come up later. and every single one of them will be thrown into the trash with all the other lables. doctors forget that you aren't Down syndrome, hypothyroidism, deaf, congenital heart defects, developmentally and mentally delayed. you are our little. our shilo. the daughter we didn't know we would have, but we are so thankful for. the one who was gifted us in a surprising and unexpected way. you are the daughter whom we didn't know we wanted so badly, until we met you.
we love you sweet little. we wanted you. we still want you. we believe in you. we know that all the things that satan has meant for harm, God will use for good. we have seen it before with another girl with lots of labels. and we know that all things are possible because of who our King is.