Gabe has made me a better husband, father, and human being. Love at first sight is real and I knew the instant I met Gabe that I loved him with all my heart. My feelings may be different than some of you have had, and that’s OK. A birth diagnosis of Down syndrome is a life changing experience. For those of you reading this, understand that however you react it’s OK and I know it’s going to be much better than OK, it’s going to be an AMAZING journey! Gabe had a birth diagnosis and our lives changed more than we had anticipated in February 2014. I have never shed a tear of sadness about Gabe. I have never had a negative thought about his birth diagnosis of Down syndrome. Gabe is and always will be my son and I will love him for exactly who is.
This blog is not a place for people who have negative thoughts. We do not have time for negativity, and whether you continue to read on, make it a goal to remove all negative thoughts from your life. Love life and do all you can to take care of those you love. There is nothing more important than family and it is your obligation to take care of them, provide for them, and be the best husband, father, and human being you can be. Through Gabe’s actions, his undeniable love for life, the way he finds joy and happiness in all events is something that we can all learn from. I have learned so much about life from my son and I hope to share some of our adventures with you.
While my wife has masterfully created a wonderful social media experience, I have worked behind the scenes and I am taking small first steps to reach out to people. My disclaimer is as follows. First, I will have the comments disable for this blog, I know that many of you would like to share and add information. If you would like to do that please go to our Facebook page here and message us that way. Second, I am not an expert and I won’t claim to be. The content in this blog is merely my point of view and my opinion on things. What you can count on though, is my honest assessment of my perception of experiences and outlook on the situation.
It only makes sense to start at the beginning. Gabe, my main man, had a birth diagnosis for Down syndrome. For some people this can be difficult, and as I imagine, for many of us this may have been extremely difficult. I know Kristie and I had a time with it. But, as I stated in the disclaimer, I will strive to provide an honest recollection of my experiences for others to read about. Maybe this information will find individuals who find themselves in an analogous situation and might have some of the same feelings. Kristie always asks me to, “tell me what your feeling” and I have always had a challenging time describing emotions. I will try to clarify my emotional state to the best of my ability. Was I sad? No. Did I cry? No. Was I scared? Yes, I was scared for Gabe’s health. I didn’t know anything about Down syndrome, and we were quickly approached with an enormous amount of data on all types of health complications associated with his diagnosis. I wasn’t sad then and I have never had a sad emotion for Gabe, or any of my children.
As a first-time father, there are so many unknowns. What will my son be like? Will he look like me? I wonder if he will play football? This list goes on and on. If I could give one piece of advice for first time parents this would be it. Don’t create expectations for who your children should be, find love, joy, and happiness, in who they are. For many people, this may be extremely difficult to do. I always thought to myself, Gabe is going to be the best! I just want to meet and get to know him. It wasn’t that I didn’t think about what Gabe would be like, it was just that I had already accepted that no matter how he turned out, what his likes and dislikes were, I was going to love him the same. This thought process is directly related to a conversation I had with my Dad almost 20 years ago about going out for basketball in eighth grade. I told him I didn’t want to go out for basketball that year. I thought he would be disappointed if I stopped playing as my dad had been volunteer coach since the 3rd grade. He wasn’t sad and he sincerely told me that whatever decision I made he would support it. What I took away from this conversation is no matter what choice I made, my Dad would support me. I left the conversation knowing there was no wrong answer. I think this is a big take-a-way, there is no wrong answer. Always look for the Win-Win-Win. Just because things are going to be different, doesn’t mean they are going to be bad. In my experience, things have been amazing and wonderful, our family has an unimaginable appreciation for life and every achievement, even the seemingly small things. Kristie and I jumped through the roof the first time Gabe fed himself a puff. It is these small victories that only parents of a child with special needs can understand and appreciate.
P.S. Gabe has inspired us to take action to make the world a better place! We are selling t-shirts which can be found here and are going to use the proceeds to make "Welcome Home" baskets for families. Thanks and check back soon for another post!