Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Ok, or maybe she'll be a chunky thigh model.
It is natural to wonder what our children will become when they grow up. We nurture them. We provide them with early intervention. We send them to school (or educate them at home.) We teach and train them. We love and adore them. We like to imagine the possibilities. We hope for the best.
And, cough it up moms, we worry for them. I can’t tell you not to, but we both know it doesn’t do us any good. Our children will be fine. Our children will be artists, companions, public speakers, photographers, actors, mailroom clerks, musicians, cashiers, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
To give you a glimpse of the future, I’d like to highlight some talented people who are already grown up.
Michael Jurogue Johnson—Artist
Michael is a painter and illustrator. He works with watercolors, acrylics, and oils. Michael’s work is both expressive and lovely. On his website you can purchase original paintings, posters, note cards, or even commission a painting of your child inspired from a photo you provide. If you haven’t seen Michael’s work before, go visit his site. You will be impressed.
Karen Gaffney—Public Speaker, Advocate, Foundation President
Karen’s website describes her as dedicated to championing the journey to full inclusion for people with Down Syndrome and other disabilities. Karen will be speaking at this year’s National Down Syndrome Congress Convention as well as presenting at the World Down Syndrome Congress in Dublin, Ireland. She is also an olympic swimmer and has completed a relay swim across the English Channel. Wow.
Sujeet is a musician (accomplished with six different instruments) who performs solo across the United States and the world. He is the winner of eight national and international awards. He will be appearing at this year’s World Down Syndrome Congress in Dublin, Ireland. He is one busy guy playing his music weekly throughout his local community, working in a library, practicing martial arts, and hanging out with his wife, Carrie (who is also a public speaker.)
I chose to give some detail about these three in particular because they are masters of skills I will never possess. I am “typical” but I will never be able to paint like Michael, swim (or open my mouth in public) like Karen, or play music like Sujeet. These are gifted individuals.
And you know what? Your child with Down syndrome is also gifted. Your role is to provide opportunity, to make room for that gift to grow. Someday your little Bob the Builder (ok, in this instance it's Brian the Builder) is going to grow up and contribute to the world around him in ways you can’t even guess today.
All photos used with permission.