When this family contacted me for newborn pictures, I knew *instantly* that it was meant to be and that we’d be fast friends. For one, they recently lived in the same area of Texas that I’m from!! We probably passed each other at the Super HEB all the time (for all you New Englanders, Super HEBs are the most amazing grocery stores you’ll ever see)! And for two, their sweet baby, Will, was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
It’s funny, as you age, how the details of life sift through, gradually leaving the ones that are most meaningful and important to your unique path. Over the years, especially as I’ve become a parent and had to focus on what to teach my own kids about life, kindness and inclusion and respect have become my mantras. All the other details have seemed to fall by the wayside. Kindness, inclusion, respect . . . these are the things worth fighting for. These are the things that matter.
I have more than a few friends whose beautiful kids have Down Syndrome, and over the years I’ve had the honor of learning so much about this community and these beautiful children. And even from just my tangential view, the amount of joy and delight children with Down Syndrome bring not only their families, but the greater world around them, is unparalleled. They are, truly, sunshines.
The world has come a long way in the last decade or two in recognizing not only the gifts that these children bring to their communities, but also their unique talents and strengths that help them navigate the world. Now, more than ever, parents of children with Down Syndrome still dream about independent lives for their children, rich lives full of achievements and self-actualization. Now, more than ever, Down Syndrome is being understood as just another shade in an ever increasingly colorful world of diverse talents and abilities.
I absolutely adore the name these parents picked out: Will.
He will. All those dreams you have. He will.
I’m so very honored to have had the opportunity to document Will’s earliest days of absolute adoration and unconditional love from his whole, big family.