During the holiday season I like to give thanks to people that have made a difference in my life. Today it is for all the wonderful people I have been privileged to meet from across the entire WORLD through our common trait - we are all touched by Down syndrome.
Most of us have taken entirely different paths - but through our journey we have learned to celebrate the magic Down syndrome has brought to our lives. It a bond that will never be broken.
One of these new found friends is Tiffany, I've mentioned her before, not only is she insightful and a wonderful writer - she is VERY creative. So thanks to Tiffany for the below:
There is always a something that you can put your finger on, that started a change of perspective. For me, Band of Angels was one of those.
When Elise was born, as I've said. We were surprised. We went through some of the adjustments super quick. We knew that there would be some changes to our life with the addition of the Bonus Chromosome on 21. I doubt either of us realized how much. But we made a very deliberate choice early on, that she was still our daughter, still our baby, and still should be celebrated, regardless of everyone else's reaction. So we did.
I was a 7th grade Social Studies/inclusion teacher when we had Elise. And the school I worked at was mind-blowingly supportive and positive. I can still never thank them enough. The administration allowed me to do some of my professional development hours in research about Down Syndrome. I wrote up a lot of information about their health, mental expectations, and some educational opportunities...and I soaked in everything I could find...
In the HOURS (weeks...months..) I spent immersed in the internet, I stumbled on to the Band of Angels website. I bought an old calendar for my heart...and then a current one...and then the Common Threads book and bawled my eyes out. It was so beautiful and so celebratory. And it felt like it was the first thing that said that my life was not only going to be okay, but it would be beautiful and joyful...and that I had every reason to be proud of my gorgeous pocket-sized baby....which was the first time that I could truly say that someone other than me didn't think I was delusional, in denial, or emotionally cracked for seeing how pretty my tilt-y eyed baby really was.
The calendars and the Common Threads books featured exquisite pictures done of gorgeous tilt-y eyed children all in black and white and hand tinted...and the Common Threads book took it one step further and included triumphs and POSITIVE statistics on children and people with Down Syndrome. What percentages of people with Downs lived independently, played instruments, held jobs, who won national art contests...and so much more! I wept with the beauty and my soul was bathed in the healing properties of hope.
I decided (through my blog) that I was going to do a giveaway for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I would do a calendar, I thought. Just in time for the New Year. Perfect. Then I decided to ask Band of Angels if they'd like to be involved and see if they'd "up the ante" maybe sweeten it with a Common Threads book or a set of cards or something. I heard back from Cynthia Kidder herself, saying how she enjoyed the blog and they totally wanted to be involved. My heart sky-rocketed. I figured that my email would go to someone who handled "crazy lady" requests...but I heard from the actual lady who unknowingly put emotional band aids on my heart 8 years ago and handed me hope, and on a silver platter to boot.
Okay. SO!! Here is the deal. The first thing I am going to do here is up your anticipation a little bit....just so I don't feel alone....because I am high-as-a-kite excited!! Each day of TWELVE days there will be a giveaway. I *think* I am going to keep it on week days so all of your Christmas parties, holiday travels, and Christmas shopping doesn't keep you from getting a chance at these goodies...And you will have a chance at a Biggie Win at the end...I will tell you more of the details on Monday along with the FIRST giveaway!
But today (and until I post the first giveaway) you get a chance for an extra entry to a giveaway. It's simple. All you have to do is go to Band of Angels and comment there or on the Facebook page of this blog and tell what you HOPE is in the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Stash!!! If you are right, then I will put you in an extra entry for that particular giveaway!! Cool, huh??? So, go dream shop, and come back to here or on Facebook and tell me what you hope is on that List!!!
Enjoy and please look into the Band of Angels - what an incredible organization!