Monday, November 5, 2012

Reid's Vote for President...

Reid and his friends will vote someday... not just as a privilege but as a right
About 16 years from now... on the eve of the election of 2028 I fully anticipate sitting in our living room having a good discussion with Reid about the candidates before us and the policies and laws he will have a hand in casting a vote for. It will be his first of many elections he will be able to take part in. There isn't any reason why he will not be able to vote, or any reason he will not be able to understand the principles and agenda each candidate stands for. I also anticipate proudly driving him to the voting booth if he isn't able to drive himself... and standing outside waiting for him extremely proud of him. I anticipate Reid getting a kick out of this experience and being fully passionate about whoever his candidate of choice is...

But for now.... my smarty pants is only 5 and on the eve of this election 2012 he tells me he is the best candidacy choice and that if he was elected president he would... well, play with his buddy Daniel A.!

Unfortunately tomorrow there are going to be some friends with intellectual disabilities that may be given a hard time when they show up to vote... I hope not, but if they do I hope they are armed with the information below:
You do have the right to vote! If you are a person with a mental disability and understand what it means to vote, federal law protects your right to vote. The laws that protect that right: The Constitution and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12132; Doe v. Rowe, 156 F.Supp.2d 35 (D.Me.2001).

You have the right to get help from a person you choose. If you can’t read or need help voting because of your disability, you can have someone help you vote. You can bring a friend, family member or someone else you trust to help you. You can ask the poll worker to help you if you didn’t bring anyone with you. The law that gives you that right: The Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§1973aa-6; The Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12132 

If you have a problem, you can get help by calling 1-866-OUR-VOTE Lawyers are available to give voters with disabilities and other voters advice and help with voting problems, so call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683). The law says everyone gets to cast a ballot, so don’t leave without voting!

Even if someone says you cannot vote, the law says the poll worker must allow you to vote a special ballot called a Provisional Ballot. Later, an election worker will decide whether you are allowed to vote in the election. If you are, your vote will be counted. The law that gives you that right: The Help America Vote Act, 42 U.S.C. § 15482

For more information about the rights of voters with disabilities visit

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Why I Write...

Well, I checked my stats tonight and I have written, three... gulp, 3 posts so far in 2012. That's not so good. Have a lost my mojo?? Not so much... just got pulled under with this thing called life. I've wanted to come back... wanted to write... have actually had lots on my heart to write about, particularly with Reid transitioning to a general ed kindergarten this fall and all that brought us to that crossroad.... but my blog laid silent most of the year... and needed to I suppose for a bit. I don't like fast and furious in my life... I like slow and steady much better and in order to try and pull in the reigns a bit when life felt like it was speeding up much too fast I decided to set aside a few things... and my cherished blog was one that needed to take a back seat. But... my fingers have been itching to type and my heart and head have been housing stories I've wanted to share... 

And yes...I know this is totally vain but I really truly think that the fact that my blog was still stuck in Christmas mode the whole year through bothered me to the point of well, silence. But weeks have a funny way of turning into months...and well, we are now 7 weeks away from Christmas... and the fact that in the last 24 hours I have purchased 3 Christmas presents as well as the wreath below... well, I deem the background appropriate enough to say, "You're close enough to Christmas sistah... hold your head up high and type away!".

So type away I will... and what the end result of tonight's typing will be I am not at this moment sure of, except that I know that I have been wanting to write about a question I was asked recently....

A few weeks ago I was asked by a new friend, who also has a sweet son with Down syndrome... "Why do you write?" as in my blog.

I type my answer here maybe even more as a reflection for myself than it is meant to be informative in this space... but here is my answer;

My dad lives out of state, so when Reid was born I called him from my hospital bed to tell him the news. I remember clutching to that phone needing to hear his voice on the other end, I needed to hear my own parent tell me it was going to be okay, which he did but just as speedily as those words came off his lips so were the words, "Are you ready to write kiddo?". I cried and told him that this, Down syndrome, was not what I had ever envisioned myself writing about. He knows my secret passion to write because we both share the bug~ his to write a novel and mine children's books. But, he encouraged me to write, about this, Down syndrome. I filed it in my head not knowing what I would ever do with that comment, but filed it knowing it was a special exchange between the two of us.

About 6 months later I stumbled upon a site that fed blogs through it... all of these blogs were written by family members who had a child with Down syndrome. What??.. I could hardly believe it. Night after night once the boys were in bed I would scour the site and all the blogs and read post after post of families just. doing. life. And... they were happy. Life did not end for them. The theme I began to see in all of them was that Down syndrome was a non issue, it was a blessing to them, it was what molded them into better versions of themselves... and it was fuel to my soul. Truly... the idea that I could peer into someone's life and see how they were doing life along this new journey I was on was so helpful to me. I gleaned resources on top of encouragement, and began to put into focus my philosophy of raising a child with special needs. I could feel myself taking a little of this and a little of that from each site and each family.... without them even knowing it because they were right there- on the internet- for me to learn from. I. am. so. grateful. for those blogs in the early years. And then as crazy as it sounds... many of those strangers I gleaned from in the beginning... have become friends along this road. People I feel invested in, people I never would have met had it not been for this extra little chromosome that our children share. I need this connection with others who also have a child with Down syndrome as much as I need the connection with my childhood friends, and other close friends I've made in my life. 

That... that's why I write. To connect. And... if there is a family that stumbles upon my blog that is new on this journey and can see the same thing I saw in others.... that we are happy, that we love our boys to the moon and back, that Down syndrome does not define our youngest son- that he is more like his brother and his friends than not- that we are not sad anymore that he has Down syndrome- that we feel so incredibly blessed... then I say thank you to those who came before me and showed me the beauty of writing and sharing so that others might get their legs about them like I did. 

"Yeah Dad, I'm ready to write...."

...and as for what my little men have been up to while my blog has laid silent, here is a snippet... 

Their first puppy

Best Buddies Friendship Walk 
Preschool Graduation
All Star baseball
Summer fun

First Day of School~ Kindergarten and 5th Grade

Robert H. Goddard and his superhero sidekick

...and just today~ Mummified at a birthday party

 That wreath up top I bought today?... bought from a friend on the other side of the US who I met via her blog when she was still pregnant with her sweet Bennett, who also sports an extra chromosome. Thanks to her writing, I got to celebrate his birth and pray for him when he was going into heart surgery months later. I love this little thing called writing connecting.