It’s been three years ago to the day that the words Down Syndrome were first spoken to us in regard to our son Mason. He was just a little over 12 hours old when the Doctor brought him into my room and told me his suspicions. I held my boy close, kissing his cheeks, as I cried and tried to make sense of what the Doctor was saying.
We didn’t know much about Down syndrome, but over the days, weeks and months that followed, we tried to learn all we could, hoping that we would be able to care for and help our little guy with any potential struggles he faced.
When I became a Mom for the first time I kept a book close at hand that would tell me of all the milestones my baby should be reaching. I would compare her progress with the book and was well prepared for her baby well visits, giving the Doctor a proud “Yes!” when asked if she was rolling over, sitting up, or babbling to us.
I never questioned whether or not she would do these things and I took it for granted that she met each milestone in a timely fashion. I just assumed she would be crawling and walking and talking in a manner appropriate with her age.
They told us that Mason’s Down syndrome would cause delays in his development. And as he reached six months and still wasn’t rolling over, I started to get it. We waited with bated breath for the day when he would roll, crawl, chew food and walk.
These things that seemed small and just par for the course in a child’s life became big things to us. Big things that we learned to celebrate because we saw them as truly miraculous.
Mason turned three yesterday. And, you know what? He’s doing some pretty BIG things.
He’s putting Legos together. And taking them apart. And throwing them across the room and down the vents in the floor. But, he has learned how to do it.
For months we worked with him on eating, and many days I ended up in tears at mealtime, frustrated because he was unable to feed himself. Choking became a regular occurrence at the table, and it terrified me to have anyone else feed him for fear that they wouldn’t smash up his food into small enough pieces. Well, now, not only is he feeding himself, but he is eating cereal! After months of only eating oatmeal for breakfast he finally tried cereal. And he likes it cold! He is still afraid of Cheerios for some reason, but Bran Flakes he will eat. It is messy, yes, but I try to cheerfully clean up the milk splatters and soggy flakes because I know that it took him a long time to get to this point.
Playing outside is one of Mason’s favorite things to do. And it’s so fun to watch him dig in the dirt, walk around the yard, and yesterday he even attempted climbing up the bars of the kids’ playset. He is ALL boy and it’s wonderful.
Mason’s vocabulary is beginning to take off. He says dog, truck, night-night, bye, hi, Daddy, Mama, juice, home, Nana, Nini, Bravo (that’s what he calls Bradley’s Dad) and George (he loves to watch Curious George). He can point to most of his body parts when asked, imitates animal noises appropriately (most of the time), and sometimes even says Jenna. Perhaps my favorite thing is when he wants to play with something and I hear him calling, “Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama…” When I finally get to him, he points to whatever it is he wanted, and sometimes even says “choo-choo” if he wants his trains, or hands me a stack of Legos to pull apart. He knows what he wants and he’s learning how to communicate with us.
He also understands disobedience. No, I don’t want him to disobey, but it is absolutely wonderful to me that when I go into his room at naptime because he’s playing instead of sleeping, he turns, sees my face and then runs back to crawl in his bed. I never realized what a miracle it was to understand when we’ve done wrong, but this is the first step in understanding our need for a Savior. I pray that Mason’s eyes will be opened to his need for Jesus and that one day he will believe and follow hard after the Lord.
I think there’s a balance in celebrating these accomplishments. I don’t ever want to take away from the greatness of God and the power that He holds. But, Scripture also talks about how precious we are in the sight of God, how He numbers the hairs of our heads, and calls each star by name. If Scripture speaks of those things as being important to God, then I think we can count the ‘little’ accomplishments in life as big deals.
Louie Giglio, when speaking about the Universe, God’s greatness, and our smallness, referred to us as having “significant insignificance”.
I like that. God is way bigger than me and you and all of the things that are important to us. Our lives are a vapor, just a small dot in the span of time. And it’s His glory that we celebrate and live for. Yet, in His love He pursues a relationship with us that is personal, which gives us great significance as His children.
“In Him we live and move and have our being,” – Acts 17:28.
THAT is worth celebrating.
And if we live and move because of God, then the little things that we, or our children, accomplish are because of Him, due to His power, and worth rejoicing in.
I want to celebrate the small things because really, they are big things.
What can you celebrate today?