If I could go back 27 years to the day I found out that Josh had Down syndrome, what would I tell myself?

I didn’t know before he was born.  I didn’t know in the hospital.  I didn’t know the first few days as I was bonding with my baby.  That was a blessing.  I was a little bit afraid for his health because he had jaundice and had been under “the lights” in the hospital.  As a new, first time, young mother, I watched him like a hawk – keeping a hand on him even as he slept so I could feel his breathing. 

But I didn’t know the laundry list of possible health problems that would be presented to me in a few weeks.  I didn’t know the meaning of the words Down syndrome.  Heck, I don’t think I even really knew what a chromosome was.  I didn’t know what it felt like to really worry about my son’s future.

When I heard the words for the first time, I allowed myself to cry.  Once.  On the way home from the geneticist’s office.   

Then I went about the task of learning.  
Some things you can learn from others.  Statistics, probability, historic perspectives, can all come from books and “experts.”  
Best practices, health guidelines, suggested therapies – they’re all important and have their place.  As parents, we all look for this kind of knowledge, whether our child has special needs or not. 
But if I could tell that scared Mom, who wanted so desperately for her baby to be safe and healthy, one thing it would be this – 

“You know more than you think you do.” 

Maternal instincts are nothing to sneeze at when it comes to knowledge.  Doctors, family members, and the well-meaning “public at large” don’t know you or your child. 
 They can’t tell you how to love your child – and that’s what really matters most. 
The Road that is parenthood is a lifetime of learning, growing, and caring.  There are pot holes of fear, pain, and struggle to be sure, but those are just momentary bumps.  I’d tell myself not to get too caught up in the destination or how long it will take to get there.  

“Enjoy the ride – 

it’s the best one you’ll ever take –

and every inch is worth the trip!”