Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Seeing the Possibility in Bridget

Three years ago, our family was sitting in a hospital room with heavy hearts, looking at a beautiful little girl in a tiny bed and wondering what challenges she would face.

When Bridget was a newborn, we learned about Down syndrome through what we read or were told by others. As Bridget has grown, she’s shown us all far more about herself—as well as Down syndrome, and what it’s like to live with a disability—than any textbook or person could have.

Bridget does not see herself as challenged. She is just a kid—being and doing. Like everyone else, Bridget has her own set of skills and challenges. Like everyone else, she is also full of dimension and potential.

Today, Bridget is a happy, healthy and secure three-year-old who continues to reach milestones on her own terms. She’s growing, learning new things, making friends and developing and a strong sense of herself. She is taking her first steps toward independence.

A few weeks ago, I helped Bridget climb up the stairs onto a school bus for her first day of preschool in our local school system. She is thriving.

Bridget is aware and energetic, with the whole world ahead of her. And although we are excited to see what’s in store for Bridget, we are not in a hurry to see where she’s going or even how she will get there. With a little extra support, she’ll make her way. And we will enjoy the journey right along with her.

Bridget is opening hearts and minds daily. She's showing others that all people have abilities, and that our human value is not based on our achievements.

We realize that we won’t know all of Bridget’s capabilities unless we give her the chance to learn, to build relationships, to be part of the community and to live her own life in her own unique way.

A friend once said that when you’ve seen the light in someone the world may reject—a person who doesn’t fit the mold of what society says is perfect, successful or beautiful—then you begin to see that light everywhere. We understand that clearly now.

Bridget is interesting and funny and talented, all in her own right. She deserves the chance to make her own way in this world.

We’ve learned to never underestimate Bridget. What we know now is that she is not only capable of far more than most people would think, but also that she is a joyful, important, contributing member of our family and of the community who makes life brighter for all of us.

Given encouragement and opportunity, the world is full of possibilities for Bridget--and for the rest of us.

Written by Lisa of Bridget's Light