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31 for 21 | Day 33 - EXTRA BONUS DAY! - November 1st

Surprised to hear more about 31 for 21?  Well, me too, but apparently I have more to say.
Read on...

First photos at the hospital - the day after Matthew was born.
He had a brief stay in the NICU.

He was in a hurry and didn't even wait for me to get undressed - still in my street shirt. I look at this picture and it's just so his little face! Wrong date on the photo, so maybe the above one was on the day he was born too.

Our very first Buddy Walk in Oct. 2002.
Matthew's very 1st trip to a Pumpkin Patch - Oct. 2002.
No big fancy one - we just went to the one on the corner that 1st time...
Very 1st Halloween - Oct. 2002!
The previous Halloween, I remember Trick-or-Treating and telling friends about Matthew. That he would have Down syndrome and that we just weren't sure what all that would mean, but he looked just like Ryan in the sonograms and we loved him already.

I read an article tonight from someone else that is also not done talking about DS for the month of Oct. What struck me 1st and foremost about this article was that 14 years later, when we were given Matthew's diagnosis in uttero (9 years aog), not much had changed. They were still gloom and doom and mentioned several times what the cut off date was for termination. Now it is assumed that abortion will be the decision given when told that the fetus will have Down syndrome. And most of the time, it is.
The story of Hunnicutts mirrors our own story quite a bit. The devastation and feeling of being alone and hopeless. But then upon meeting other families, realizing that there is hope. I always felt that we were chosen for Matthew for some reason and that I may never know that reason. I do know that he is the light of our lives (along with his brother) and that we wouldn't change anything about him.
What I found uplifting about the article, is the open mindedness of the state of Georgia. To open up the campuses for an Inclusive Adult Education program. I want this for Matthew.
Our goal for Matthew is for him to live as typical of a life as possible for him. To drive, to go to college, to fall in love and get married someday, to live on his own, to hold a job - those are things that we wish for both of our sons. And until proven otherwise, these are the things that we will continue to strive for for both of our children. Their needs, wishes and dreams come first. And we will keep moving forward on these dreams and goals until we figure out what works and what doesn't work. Whatever that may be.
Is it easy?
Do I worry about this all happening with Matthew more than I worry about it with Ryan?
But will it stop me, us as a family, from moving towards whatever goal Matthew might set out to accomplish?

Life with Matthew is an adventure. One that sometimes has to go slowly. Why? Because he stops to smell the roses. He stops to look at the birds flying across the sky. Because he's flighty and has no attention span? No - not always. ;)  But mostly because he notices. Usually at an unconvenient time, like when we're trying to get him in the car to go to school - LOL! Does he stop to say "Hi!" to almost everyone and introduce himself (and me and Dad and Ryan)? Yes. Is it annoying - to us yes, sometimes. But mostly to the people he's saying "Hi' to - it brings a smile to their face. And because he's done this, I have made new friends and acquaintances that I wouldn't have otherwise.
Does life with Matthew take an extra dose of patience?
Does that really matter?
Patience is life's way of slowling you down, making you take notice, making you take a deep breath and breathe. Not always easy to do, not always convenient to do, but worthwhile to do. It does mean that we have to leave a few minutes ealier than we would have otherwise, but that's ok. It works.
Does he frustrate us?
All in all - is he worth it? Would we have him ANY other way?

Wow - so I ended up rambling about this. :)
I guess what I want to bring across is that Matthew's life is more typical than not. That it's not without it's hardships and difficulties, but that it is a life worth living. It's HIS life.  I do wish I had a roadmap, directions if you will, as to what steps to take to get us - to get him - to our goals. But then again, do I wish I had that for Ryan also?
Wouldn't that be nice?   :)

Molly McButter –   – (11:31 PM)  

Awwwww, your boys are adorable :D

robin  – (5:26 PM)  

Michelle, I don't think I remember seeing pictures of Matthew as a baby! :) Your words are so touching and I'm glad I've gotten to know you and your family. I have learned a lot from Matthew, too.

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