Our Journey with GiGi’s Playhouse Wausau

Three years later…

Last month we celebrated my son’s 4th birthday and World Down Syndrome Day. Nathan is still an extraordinary little boy who loves to laugh and smile. So, what has changed since I wrote my first blog post for GiGi’s Playhouse Wausau three years ago? So much!

Now Nathan is walking, running, dancing and making us laugh non-stop with his sense of humor and joyfulness! He still loves to rock out on his drums (and keyboards, harmonica, recorder, basically anything musical!) He is also busy learning his ABCs as a participant of GiGi’s Literacy Tutoring program; he loves to practice his letters.

GiGi’s Playhouse Wausau is now open with regular programming. Instead of serving on the start-up committee I am the Board Treasurer. I work with an amazing team of volunteers who have given their hearts, time and energy to making GiGi’s Playhouse Wausau a stand-out resource for Central Wisconsin! When I was asked to update this blog post from exactly three years ago (What I’d Been Looking For), I knew after the first sentence exactly what the theme of this updated post would be. This is the first time that I had been equally excited for World Down Syndrome Day as I was for Nathan’s Birthday, which are both celebrated in the same week! This felt like a significant shift in my motivations and perspective.

My “why” – my purpose for devoting my heart, time and energy to GiGi’s Playhouse — has evolved. When I joined the start-up committee four years ago I was motivated to bring this resource to Marathon County for Nathan, my son. Now I serve on the board for the entire GiGi’s network of participants, volunteers and supporters. GiGi’s is bigger than services for just my son, bigger than just the Down syndrome community — GiGi’s is about changing our world for the better, about acceptance for all! That is why I was just as excited to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day last month as I was to celebrate Nathan’s birthday.

Everyday I see the impact Nathan and his GiGi’s friends have on the people in their lives. Sometimes it is extreme frustration, but it is also extreme joy. The depth and purity of the connections formed is evident in every interaction. To see volunteers bonding with participants at the playhouse and to see our participants representing GiGi’s out in our greater community is what keeps us working hard to continue to achieve Bet of All moments every day!

Other new services have come to Wausau, or become available to Nathan over the last three years, but GiGi’s provides us with an uplifting network of friends and families, a sense of purpose, and a place within our greater community to be heard, seen and celebrated!

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