Notes from Nancy | Why am I Surprised?

This week we are excited to hand over this space to our Chief Belief Officer & GiGi’s mom, Nancy Gianni.  We think what she has to share is going to touch many of your hearts, it certainly touches ours!



What an emotional, crazy week it was! It started Monday night, the 22nd,  when I dropped GiGi off at the salon to meet her friends for a mani pedi (no more mom). What now?!  Then watching her walk the stage to get her diploma and finally  watching her shine while hanging with all her friends at her middle school graduation party.  At one point I looked up and saw her surrounded by her friends and just lost it!

Why am I surprised?

Why am I surprised that GiGi walked across the stage last week at her 8th grade graduation with confidence, poise and pride?   Why was I surprised when she smacked the ball in T-ball at 5 years old?  Why was I surprised when she rocked her first speech in front of a thousand people at 9 years old?

She has never shown me anything less than her best but she still surprises me every day!  I guess knowing what I do about Down syndrome makes me realize how much harder everyday tasks are for her,  which makes every accomplishment extra special.  I am grateful to celebrate every win, every day!

There are days when I wish it was easier for her and for me but I truly believe we are both where we are supposed to be.

I guess I should not have been so surprised when I found she had Down syndrome, before I knew we where expecting our third baby, something changed in me. I began acting a little differently,  I was vocally intolerant of ignorance, rude behavior and lying.  One of the first thoughts I remember having when I finally learned I was pregnant was that all of my moral superiority suddenly made sense!  I told my husband, Paul “This baby has a voice! This baby has already changed me for the better. This baby is going to be a world leader or do something big in the world!  This baby has a voice!” Paul rolled his eyes, but I felt it.  I was so excited to see who my baby would become. I couldn’t wait.

She definitely has a voice and boy does she use it!!  She honestly knows what she was sent her to do.  I see it.  I see her turn off the crabby (come on now, we all get crabby sometimes)  when she knows she has to represent. I saw it at 9 years old when she ran her hand down her dress to make sure it looked perfect before she took the stage.  I see it in the compassion she has when she meets a new mom and her baby with Down syndrome.  I saw it as she gracefully walked across the stage at her middle school graduation.  GiGi is not just representing with her voice but with her actions.

While traveling to the opening of our 32nd location in Rochester NY last month GiGi was writing her speech in the airport.  She was working on her ipad, drinking her starbucks, and texting on her phone.  The people next to us were watching her multi task with a smile on their face.  After GiGi recited the final changes to her speech one of the women came up to me and excitedly said “I know who you guys are.  We googled you!”  They googled us? (first time for everything, right) Wow, GiGi did not have to say a word to them, her actions and presence gave her a voice!   See Paul I was right!  Our baby IS changing the world!  Why am I surprised? Pretty sure this young woman will never stop surprising us!

GiGi's Playhouse

Thank you Nancy & Congratulations GiGi on graduating from middle school! We hope you have a fabulous summer with family & friends!

If you would like to help GiGi’s Playhouse continue to grow and offer purposeful, progressive, NO COST programs, we invite you to join us at our annual 5k event on June 11th!  Not able to be there in person? You can still impact the lives of amazing people living with Down syndrome and using GiGi’s Playhouse to support their dreams and goals. Please visit our 5K site today to make a donation, sign up for your favorite team or start your own team! You can even be a virtual runner! CLICK HERE! 

GiGi's Playhouse


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