So, I am apparently a few months behind in my posts, and that means that it is time to catch up before I forget where we have come from. I am thinking back particularly to May. In May my mom, Simon and I made a trip to Winnipeg that would change our lives! (I'm being a bit dramatic here, but really it was life-changing.)
The three of us attended the 2013 Down Syndrome Conference. I remember being super excited as we pulled out of my parents' driveway, and thinking, "I'm gonna make sure I mention this part in my blog." I was so excited for a few reasons. I was pumped to go on an adventure with my boy, and my mom where no one in our family had gone before. Sure we've done trips to Winnipeg before, and yes, Simon and I have made the trip with an extra adult who is not Andrew before, but this was different. We were going to learn specifically about Simon. He was going to be the spotlight, not just the appointment.
We have had fun at Baby Love in the past (a fun event for families with children who have Down Syndrome) and we've made contact with new people and become friends, but this was bigger. This was trailblazing where the Wiens family has never been before. (Cue Star Trek music.)
We listened to the Vinyl Cafe on the way to the city, and laughed until we cried. (That means we had a great trip.) I drove to my midwife appointment with my mom and Simon (a huge deal for a small town driver), and then dropped my mom off at my aunt's house. Simon and I settled in at our friends' place for night and we were set. Of course I had a terrible sleep because when you know you need to wake up at a certain time in order to be on time, you have to wake up ever couple of hours to make sure your alarm clock is set. Right? That and the fact that I was 7 months pregnant combined to give me a very long night. Sigh.
Simon and I got to the bus stop on time, we watched cars drive by, we rode the bus with no problem, walked downtown to the hotel where the conference was without getting sidetracked, and we were swimming.
We walked up to the hotel and I spotted (as I suspected I would) a person with Down Syndrome. She and her friends (who also have DS) were walking to the hotel talking about what they were planning to attend that day. They commented on Simon and how cute he was, and we walked into the hotel. We were surrounded. Sink or swim I was at the conference and I might cry in public. That was really one of my concerns going to the conference. I was concerned that I would cry at a strange time and people would wonder what was wrong with me. I'm not gonna lie, I tear up during some commercials, do the thought of crying because of some random event made me a bit nervous. I didn't want to be that pregnant woman sobbing in the corner. Nope, I wanted to take it all in. Learn as much as I could. I knew if I teared up I might start crying loudly and awkwardly and not be able to stop. I might miss important bits of information that could help Simon talk sooner or something like that. I had to pay attention.
We met up with my mom and then dropped Simon off at the childcare area. I think that was one of my favorite things about the conference. I didn't have to worry about chasing him around. I could sit, put my feet up and learn. Anyway...... the conference started with the opening ceremony. There were flag bearers and a conference room full of people who were there because they had children with Down Syndrome or were educators wanting to learn more about how to help our kids in schools. I fit in. It was a strange feeling to know that we were all united by this crazy chromosome, and had so much in common, and yet we were all so different. We sat at a table with a lady from England. She made the trip to Canada just to attend the conference.
And I didn't cry. Not the big messy scary tears that I thought might happen. Just some tears that managed to sneak out a bit when the keynote speakers were talking. The first keynote speaker was Lauren Potter who is on the show "Glee". What a feisty girl! She had us laughing and cheering. I was amazed at how clearly she was speaking. The only adults that I knew with DS I had a hard time communicating with because it was hard to understand what they were saying. She did a great job of presenting and encouraging us with her stories. The second speaker was a doctor of something (baby brain) and he made me cry because of a story he told about his sister.
Speaking of sister, I must run now because the big sister just got off the bus. More about the conference later.
Why that name
Just a quick note - I chose this title for my blog because if any of you have tried to actually go up the down escalator it is a lot of work. When my son Simon was born, I was figuratively transported to the basement. I was struggling to find out what this meant for our family, and our future. I began a journey on that day, to go up the down escalator. I know it will always be a lot of work to keep going up, but that is what I have to do now to stay out of the basement. Simon has Down Syndrome, but I am choosing every day to make life normal for him and to help us get back to the ground floor. Anytime I forget the joy and stop moving forward, I find myself rapidly descending into the basement again. Thankfully I also have an emergency stop button. He is my Creator and my Father. The One who brings the despair to a standstill when I call on Him. He is my Rock and Refuge. The One I can run to when no one else understands. It may sound cliche, but it's true, I couldn't do any of this without God. He is the reason that some days I can still smile when things are ridiculous inside. That is why the name.