Take one look at my Instagram feed and you will soon notice a very strong pattern.
There are a LOT of very cute pictures of my youngest. Well, either her or my pup. Sometimes I mix it up and share pictures of them together.
I happen to think all of my kids are pretty amazing so it’s not about me playing favorites. There is some intention to many of my posts, a larger reason for sharing more of my girl than anyone else.
She’s the only one in the family with Down syndrome.
She takes the spotlight on my social media because I want to normalize our experience. I hope that the more pictures I share of her in everyday life, the more comfortable those around me will be with her and others like her.
Maybe, just maybe, if you watch how we interact with my daughter it makes it all a little more familiar. And maybe the more familiar you are with her and my family, the easier it is to relate to her and others in your community that have a special need or are just plain different from you.
Maybe if you are in the elevator and an adult with a cognitive disability steps on, you smile and make small talk with them instead of worrying about saying or doing the wrong thing. Maybe if you are at the store and you see a child in a wheelchair you won’t avert your eyes because you are terrified and instead look them in the eye and say hi as if they were any other child.
Maybe if you know my daughter you will not allow the r-word to be spoken in your presence within your circle of friends, family and co-workers.
Maybe if you follow my feed you will see that she is a blessing and not a burden. Maybe you will see that I am not a saint for bringing her home because it’s plain to see how much she has enriched our entire family (and trust me, I’m no saint).
Follow me because she’s cute but also because she has value (as does every human being). She may never contribute to society like my typical kids, but her value is immeasurable. The cuteness may wear off someday but her value will always be there.
That is what I want you to see when you look at pictures of her.