Ten years ago when she was born and after her diagnosis was confirmed, I couldn’t help myself but worry about the future. My dream of having a second child got blurred up by the news. Suddenly the preoccupations doubled, as I become the mother of two children with Down syndrome.
While still at the hospital, the staff psychologist knocked on the door to offer support. It was natural to believe that the circumstance was confusing and I needed someone to talk to. She wanted me to open up about my concerns and encouraged me to list them all to try to make sense of them one by one before leaving the hospital. One of the bigger ones to me was my children’s interactions with each other. I remember clearly the feeling of having failed them because, in my mind, they were not going to be able to support one another in life since they’d have to go through so much on their own due to their disability.
But because life is unexpected, not only for the bad but for the good things too, they have proven me wrong since the very beginning. By complementing each other, they’ve become best friends, allies, and mutual supporters in the good and bad times of life, which include my bad days as a mom.
Sure, the extra chromosome affects many aspects of their development but it has no power over the perfection of their siblings’ love. I feel proud of who they have become and every time I look at them working together or helping each other, I can tell I have done a great job raising them as caring and empathetic human beings.
And before continuing, let me clarify something: they are not who they are because they have Down syndrome. Everything they are and they project into this world is because they have been raised with love, respect, and structure.
Trying to describe that sibling’ love is hard but I’ll try. Emir is the most dedicated, loving, and committed brother I have ever met. He is always there for his sister. He can calm her down in her most dramatic crisis – when her favorite doll is missing or when she doesn’t feel like waking up. He can for sure make her laugh and he understands her like no one else can.
Ayelen is always there to cheer her brother up. She sits under the sun (which she never does for anything else) just to watch him show her his new soccer moves or anything else he wants to show off. She listens to his stories and laughs at his silly jokes. He is her real hero and she looks up to him with love, respect, and admiration.
At this moment as ten years have already passed, all I can say is that they are perfect siblings for each other. They are growing up together to understand one another like no one else ever could. They are the best brother and sister to each other, and their siblings’ love empowers them. If I could put these years in a phrase, I would say, “In the face of the unexpected, there is nothing to fear but much to learn.” And I have learned so very much from them and their shared love.