Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Countdown to TWO

The following is what I sent to friends and family on July 23, 2007, Bridget’s first birthday. Thoughts on Bridget's Second Birthday (along with a written update on her latest accomplishments and a new slideshow) will be posted tomorrow morning...

Thoughts on Bridget’s First Birthday

It has been a year already since Bridget arrived. Today, we’re celebrating Bridget, her entrance into our lives, and the impact she’s had on our family. Our first year together has been amazing...

Bridget is healthy and thriving. She gives (effort and love) freely and unabashedly. She is joy and happiness and all good things. When I look at her, I see purity, courage and strength. To me, she is simply beautiful.

It only took minutes with Bridget to see that she that she just wants to experience Life, like we all do. She has a strong desire to be--to become, to learn, to love--to live.

Others may feel that Bridget has much to overcome, but she doesn’t seem to see it that way. Her approach is genuine, and she is a joyful and willing participant in Life.

Down syndrome alone does not define Bridget. Yes, it’s a part of her genetic make-up that is distinctly hers, but it is not her. Bridget shines through.

When she was first born, doctors were quick to tell us all the things she would have trouble doing. We heard much about the health issues and other limitations of people with Down syndrome, but very little about the enormous potential we would, in fact, see in Bridget. We weren’t told to expect the extraordinary, but that is indeed what we have experienced.

This past year has only confirmed my belief that while we can’t control everything that happens in Life, we can choose to see the goodness in it.

There’s something about this journey with Bridget that’s been so powerful, and so empowering. She is growing and learning and reaching milestones. What we’ve seen through her is that what matters most is not what we achieve and when, it’s how true to ourselves we are in the process of becoming.

With Bridget, it’s like all pretense has been stripped away. Through her, I’ve seen a world where boundaries and barriers are not a focus—where stereotypes, expectations and limits do not exist. I’ve seen straight through to the heart of things. I call this “Bridget’s Light”—it’s the truths that are illuminated through her.

Looking at any of my children, I can’t predict today who they will become in the future and what they will attain, or enjoy. I don’t know the whole story of their lives yet—but I will love seeing those stories unfold. The same goes for Bridget. One thing’s for sure: I can’t wait to see who she becomes.

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