Okay, okay. So I may be a little behind. Considering the conference I'm talking about is the one that happened in 2013, I may be more than just a little behind.
I keep running out of energy when it comes time to finish my assignment, and then when I do have the energy there seems to be at least one other person who needs my immediate attention with a problem. Now I have a quiet house (for the moment) and a full bladder (possibly too much information, but it's motivating me to get this done so I can solve my own problem).
So, the conference last year......
The second keynote speaker was Brian somebody who started a campaign called, "Mock my pants, not my sister", after reading an article in GQ magazine that implied that having Down Syndrome was a terrible thing. They still, as far as I know, have not printed a retraction or apology for their comments. (Angry fist shaking now!)
Anyway, he was inspirational, funny, encouraging and just plain old great! It was wonderful to hear about how his sister changed his life and led him to take his current job path. I'm hoping and praying that my kids will be influenced likewise to seek out jobs or opportunities to serve those that society deems not good enough.
After the opening ceremonies we had coffee and headed off to our sessions. My mom and I decided to divide and conquer with the sessions. There were a lot that I wanted to hear, but since I haven't figured out yet how to be in two places at once, I sent my mother in my stead. I took in sessions about dental issues (so excited to hear from someone who knew what she was talking about), for Mom's only (a chance to cry and identify with other moms - and meet some new friends), speech development, and managing behaviour. My Mom hit the session on music therapy and how sibling may be feeling about a sibling with DS.
It's funny. As I flip through the folder from the conference it all comes back to me. Feeling overwhelmed at all the information, and processing how it made me feel to hear that speech might take a really long time. Feeling grateful to be meeting people who had kids that were older and had been through some of the tough stuff already. Feeling like fighting to see Simon as "just Simon" in a place where he fit in, and wanting him to stand out. Seeing other kids with DS and realizing how, yes we have our challenges, but in other ways he didn't have as many challenges as I thought. I missed Elizabeth and Andrew and wished that they could have been there too.
I heard a comment once about how much information you receive, and at this other conference, there was going to be so much information it would be like trying to drink out of a fire hydrant. That pretty much summed it all up. There was so much to learn, and experience, and so many people to meet and questions to ask, that I knew I was going to miss something important, and I wanted to remember it all!
I met a young woman with DS who won some awards for her paper craft, and was selling them at the conference. It was great to see her doing that, but on the other hand, I watched and saw how much her mom pushed her to do what she needed to do. There's that fine line between wanting our kids to succeed and pushing them to do what we want, instead of what they are capable of. So, yeah, sometimes it was discouraging to meet people.
I am all over the map today! Yikes.
In summary - the conference was a life changing experience, and I do want to go back again another year. I guess if you want more information about it, you will have to ask me personally. :)
Thanks for reading,
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.