As you know if you are a regular reader, we celebrated World Down Syndrome Day on 3/21. I did a blog post. My daughter wore her Buddy Walk t-shirt. She brought cookies to school, partially because school was closed due to snow on her birthday a few weeks prior.
I participated in a blog hop and other social media campaigns. I posted about our local organization's upcoming 5K fundraiser.
But I did not wear crazy socks.
In fact, I intentionally went sockless as my own act of rebellion.
At some point, a theme for World Down Syndrome day was "Wacky Socks." At one point last year, it was "Odd Socks," which was quickly changed.
I wasn't feeling it. I don't love the idea of oddness being highlighted, and I'm not quite sure what socks in general and colorful socks in particular have to do with people with Down syndrome. I know and love many people who participated in the socks campaign, but I felt like something was missing from the vision.
I would rather take action.
I loved the "Day in the Life" blog hop because blog readers who aren't particularly interested in Down syndrome were introduced to the reality of raising a child with an extra chromosome. The blog hop archive will be a fantastic resource for new parents asking, "What will my life be like?" I participated in the hop because it was a way to invite other families into our story, and that serves a purpose.
What if next year, we didn't wear crazy socks? Instead, what if we called on the community - our Down syndrome community and our friends - to step out in bold love and respect for those who are different? Michelle blogged about a group that did something similar… we should all take a page from their book.
What if we took March 21 and overwhelmed our communities with love? What if we took the time to make small changes that could include kids who otherwise get excluded? What if we offered childcare to a tired mom or invited a child with a disability to play? What if those with typically developing children requested that the special education students be in their class next year?
What if the Down syndrome community took that day as a chance to make ourselves more aware of the disability community as a whole, to learn, and to serve where we can?
What if our friends with Down syndrome took March 21 to volunteer?
And their parents did too?
What would be the point?
If we want to raise awareness, then let's show people the gifts and contributions of those with Down syndrome. Let's do that by serving other people with disabilities or differences. Let's not simply say, "People with Down syndrome are here;" let's demonstrate that people with Down syndrome have talents to offer.
Some of my readers may remember the #HonoringMaura campaign. A few big blog mentions from folks like Kelle Hampton and instagram was filled with photos of random acts of kindness. Could we do something similar for WDSD?
Let's think creatively.
Need ideas about what we can do as special needs parents? Check out this post, by a mama who has a little girl with Down syndrome… and the mama is deaf. She calls us to do more.