**seams only fitting that today's guest post come from our good friend Dana....since I was busy all day on her Halloween cape order:)
These guest posts have all been about Miss Aubrey. For good reason I suppose. Who wouldn't want to talk about that beautiful smile and kind heart? In the spirit of nonconformity (I believe Ella shares this trait with me) I am using my post to talk about someone else. A few people actually. Let's chat about Woody and Rachel.
I left my first dinner with the Smiths and proclaimed them the nicest people I had ever met. At that time they "only" had three girls. Rachel delivered Aubrey a few weeks after our Koen was born. I remember sitting in my living room on a warm September day, holding my 7 week old son, watching the Smith girls play. A few feet away Woody and Rachel sat with my husband (also their pediatrician) discussing what Rachel's ultrasound confirmed. The words heart defect, femur length, Down's syndrome floated through the air and I held my baby tighter. I couldn't reconcile the difference between the happy scene I was watching and the devastating one I was hearing. But if they were scared they didn't show it.
Aubrey came into this world a tiny little blue bundle. Oh, how those early blue days scared me! Through heart surgery, medications, hospitalizations, orthotics, glasses, hearing aids, sign language, speech therapy ... Woody and Rachel have shown a strength and commitment to their family and each other that I can hardly believe. When they discuss struggles it is about hearing loss or short stature or the logistics of getting 5 kids where they need to be. To them DS isn't something to be endured or overcome. It is simply a fact. No different than saying Emelia has blonde hair or Woody is freakishly tall.
There is a ridiculous stereotype that children with DS are always happy. I have witnessed a few meltdowns that disprove this theory. The truth is Aubrey is happy and content for the same reason that Alice, Kate, Ella and Emilia are. They are surrounded by love, strength, acceptance and peace. Sure, I believe Aubrey will do great things. I believe all of the girls will. Down's syndrome has not made Aubrey who she is. She is kind, absolutely hilarious, smart, strong, independent, sweet and beautiful because she is the daughter of Woody and Rachel.