After Harrison’s arrival, our world has transformed in amazing ways. I couldn’t imagine my life without Harrison Coleman Gilliam, my 11-month-old son with special needs. Harrison has Down Syndrome.
At 36-years-old, a new baby was even more of an adjustment for me as a mother. I didn’t have the energy I had back in my 20s for the three-hour feedings, endless changing and late-night crying (please note, I took advantage of that energy when I had it — it was just spent at late-night karaoke in Hoboken or watching sunsets with sangria at Luna Park in NYC’s Union Square). I cut back to part time at work (a very difficult decision because I love my job) and started taking Harrison to physical, occupational and speech therapies on a weekly basis. Paired with the endless doctor’s appointments to ensure my little man is healthy, we’ve spent a lot of time catching up on old magazine articles in waiting rooms. However, I wouldn’t trade my new life for the world.
Harrison has a smile that captivates. His laugh is contagious. He can light up a room with his sparkling brushfield-spotted eyes. He may take a little more time to reach milestones, but when he reaches a goal, it is all-the-more exciting. Because of Harrison, I have a new outlook on life. I’m no longer racing to reach the finish line, I’m taking each day as at it comes and learning to love the little things. Harrison’s heart of gold has taught me that it is ok to finish with the silver or the bronze. First place doesn’t always mean first-rate, and best isn’t always better than the rest.
I have always found that being open and honest encourages others to understand me. While it isn’t always easy to share my deepest feelings and vulnerabilities, it is the only way we, as people, can accept each other and our differences, no matter what they might be.
I introduced this blog to my Facebook friends tonight, and I am amazed by the response. I hope downsyndromeandtheundomesticateddiva.com can help all of us overcome our differences — no matter what they are — and remember that down deep, we are all the same.
Happy Holidays from Harrison, Herbie’s twin 😉