Today, we have a guest post from a teacher who developed an incredibly close bond with Josie during elementary school. It was written in honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, but October has come and gone and here we are, still playing catch up. However, the sentiment remains. Without further ado, allow me to present the lovely Ms. Kellie:
It’s easy to write about someone who means so much to me.Here’s my story this October—and I remain ever grateful that your daughter graced my life when she did. Here you go:There’s always that one student. She challenges you, brings you to tears, encourages you, and makes you laugh—all within 3 minutes. And on the gloomy days her smile is the sunshine you yearn for. This is Josie.This past year I’ve been met with a challenging diagnosis of a vestibular disorder along with unexplained intracranial hypotension. Multiple trips to the medical center has secured a medical team that monitors my symptoms. Most concerning is my balance, my hearing and the anxiety that unfortunately comes with it. Recognizing that I will never again feel as I once did can be consuming. But it’s those days where I turn to Josie and what she taught me.So in this month of Down Syndrome Awareness, I will once again share the lessons I learned and now live by—all because this little girl was brought into my life. And maybe, it’ll be a reminder to you, too. Because Josie is faced with challenges every day, even since birth. And yet, she chooses to own it without complaint.Here’s what Josie taught me:💖 Embrace all whom you meet. Literally. Not just a quick squeeze. But with your whole being. When Josie hugs, you can feel her heart beating. And when she finally releases, you have a sense of calmness, renewal, peace.💖And when there is no one to hug? Wrap your arms around yourself and squeeze. It works, trust me.💖 Dance. Even when everyone IS watching. Shake those hips!💖Enter a room with your head held high, with confidence bubbling over. You’ve got this!💖Sing. Sing loud. Even if you think you are off key. Sing.💖Be colorful. Make a statement. Every day.💖It’s okay to be obsessed with goldfish crackers and the color pink.💖It’s also okay to feel frustrated. Overwhelmed. Curious. And impatient. It’s okay to…. just be.💖When faced with something you lack interest, simply hold up your hand, state ‘Not a fan’ and then walk away.💖 When asked how you are doing, respond with ‘I am incredible!’ Look on the bright side! Life is beautiful!💖Appreciate differences. Josie doesn’t judge. We each had different qualities to bring to the friendship. I was my most confident when I was with her.💖Laugh! Until you are gasping for air! See the humor in everything.💖Remember each day you have an opportunity to shine your light and have a positive impact. Josie isn’t aware of the joy she brings. And she asks for nothing in return. So go make someone’s day better. Be like Josie.Happy Down Syndrome Awareness month to my favorite gal—love and miss you! Every. Single. Day.