We had been waiting for this day for months, and it was finally here. We pulled into the JW Marriott, in phoenix, for the National Down Syndrome Congress convention. Never had I been so excited for a convention. I couldn’t wait to meet other families, see other children, teens, and adults that had Ds, and attend workshops to learn everything I could about Down syndrome.
From the moment I stepped out of our van, I knew this was going to be an unforgettable experience. Everywhere I looked there were families just like ours. Families that had typical kids and they had a child/children with Down syndrome. Throughout the weekend, we attended workshops, ate meals and went swimming all the while surrounded by families just like ours. There were no questions about our sons condition, no stares, and no rude comments. We were surrounded by people that were strangers but we all had a common bond…we all had a child or family member that we loved that happens to have Down syndrome.
My son Hagen, is only one years old, so I am new at this. I don’t know very many people that have Ds, and I have only met a few adults, in my lifetime, that have Ds. I was anxious to meet teens, and adults with Ds…I couldn’t wait to have some great conversations with them. I have been wondering, since Hagen was born, What does his future hold? How functional will he be? What does living a life as a person, who has Down syndrome, look like?
After the weekend was through, we started the drive back to New Mexico. I reflected on our experience at our first Down Syndrome Congress convention. I had met so many babies, kids, teens and adults with Ds. I met bubbly, giggly girls, shy and sweet boys, and some very rambunctious toddlers. I reflected on the highlight of our trip…the dance!! Never had I seen a dance like this. These Ds families know how party. There was so much happiness in these kids/adults. They didn’t seem bogged down with worries, they weren’t preoccupied with their appearance or their dance moves, instead there were smiles, laughing, dancing with friends, and they were having a blast! If this is Hagen’s life, a simple life that is full of joy, love, smiles, friends and great dancing…I no longer worry about the future, I look forward to it.