These Smiles Are For Real

I wanted to look at some Buddy Walk t-shirt ideas so I googled Buddy Walk T-shirt images. Of course I saw multiple pics of individuals with Down syndrome; babies, toddlers, adolescents, teens, adults. Though the age range was large, I could see numerous similarities in mannerisms that I could relate to Wil. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, and I’m not sure I even want to. I simply enjoyed feeling a connection with these individuals and their families. I cherished this life with Down syndrome even more.


Certainly, there are many unique and individual stories behind these pictures. Though I do not know these families individually, I can guess of the struggles. All of the bumpy places. Every life has bumpy places no matter how many chromosomes you have. But isn’t getting through them what makes the smiles more meaningful? Isn’t getting through them what provides the energy behind an enthusiastic thumbs up? To know we are stronger, better, smarter and hopefully gained more compassion along the way. I don’t know quite why, but many consider the hard places as what’s more “real” in life. Like if we post a happy picture that’s less “real” than the bumpy places. Oh, quite the contrary. My goodness, when the sunshine and rainbows appear, that’s what we need to let shine as bright as we can and not hold back for a single second. Because that is the deep down essence of this life. Isn’t what we all live for is to give love and be loved?


I don’t have to see every bumpy picture to know how real those places are. I already know them. And that is exactly why, when I looked at the photos of the triumphant smiles, the shared loving hugs, and enthusiastic thumbs up I can feel the strength of connection. And that my friends, is fully and deeply real.

Wil and me (2)

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