In the Down syndrome community March 21st is a day of celebration. It is when we come together and work to bring awareness to world about individuals with Down syndrome. We wear crazy socks, have gatherings, and generally just have fun! This last March, leading up to World Down Syndrome Day, I was talking to a mom about it and she said, “right now I am NOT celebrating Down syndrome!” She was going through a rough patch with her little one with Down syndrome and was not in a particularly celebratory mood.
Parenting is hard. Whether you are parenting typical, special needs, singles or have a family with multiple children, there are days when the task can bring you to your knees and overwhelm you. And you know what? It is okay to not celebrate. It is okay to want to quit. It is okay to find some quiet time alone where you can regroup. It does not make you a bad parent. It makes you a normal parent. When my three adult kids were little, I had three girlfriends who also had children the same age. We were all broke and exhausted. So, we would all get together with eleven kids under the age of eight and make peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and snickerdoodle cookies (chocolate chips were too expensive). We would let our kids play in someone’s sprinkler until they were exhausted. But it was the friendship I craved and quite honestly, I am not sure I would have made it through without.
Getting through the rough patches requires community. “Humans thrive on social interaction. In fact, forming strong, healthy relationships is vital to our emotional and physical well-being, with benefits that range from reduced stress and anxiety to a stronger immune system and increased longevity.” O, The Oprah Magazine: The Power of Connection Single Issue Magazine – September 10, 2020
Come to any GiGi’s Playhouse program and you will see this take place in real time. Parents sharing their lives with their kiddos, giving advice, listening and laughing together. This is community. Parents need it. I believe our DNA thrives on connection and when we isolate, we are hurting ourselves and others.
We will be having another Mama S.A.I.D. soon. Try to attend, and make it a priority in your life to connect to others. You will be glad you did.
Robin Lea Amos
GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix