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Challenge: It's Back to School: Share Your Advice

To my son with Down syndrome on his first day of school

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Dear Son,

Today is your first day of school. It’s a big day for any kid. It’s an even bigger day for you. Because you have Down syndrome, your day came sooner. You are only three-years-old and will be going to public school five days a week; something your big sister has yet to do.

But I think you need it, I think you want it, so I’m letting go.


I spent most of yesterday worrying. I wasn’t sure if you’d understand getting on the school bus so early in the morning. I talked to you about it, I showed you pictures, we sang The Wheels on the Bus a dozen times. Before you went to bed, you surprised me when you said, “cool buh." You said it – you knew!

The test came when the big flashing yellow bus pulled up to our home. I thought you would be scared; hesitant at least. But like you so often do, you showed me my fears were unfounded as you practically leaped from my arms and up those big brown stairs.

I watched you buckle in your tiny frame and wave goodbye like it was no big deal. But to me — it was monumental. I gasped for air as you drove away. Fat tears streamed down my face, but they didn’t fall for the reason I would have guessed. I wasn’t scared for you, I was proud of you.

I am so proud of you.

Today is the first of many days in your school career. I know some things will be more difficult for you than the other kids sitting in circle time. But my love, if you tackle those things with the same gumption you showed today on your very first day, it will be enough.

You are enough.

I believe your future is bright. Mine is certainly brighter because you are in it.

So, here’s what I want you to know: try your best, always. Keep proving my fears wrong and show others who have preconceived notions of what you are, just who you are. Learn as much as you can and please don’t stop teaching me along the way.

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