Many parents may have felt a sense of hopelessness when they first learned their child was diagnosed with Down syndrome.
Sixteen years ago, Mike, husband to Alethea Mshar—of the Writing Running Mom Facebook page—held his head in his hands with a blank expression when he realized their newborn baby, Alex, had Down syndrome.
We met when I was not yet old enough to drive, and married when I was barely old enough to enjoy champagne at the…
“His eyes were almond shaped, his ears tiny and curled,” Mshar wrote for Michigan Family To Family.
Despite the fear and challenges ahead, Mike was determined “we would embrace our child, his Down syndrome, and everything that would mean to us.”
Raising Alex, there have been “emotional struggles” as Mshar and her husband juggled career and family, sending him to therapy sessions and giving him the best care.
When you get to the bus stop 15 minutes early because your child is having an anticipation meltdown that won't stop until you get in the car.
And as Alex transited to adulthood, Mshar was concerned whether he could ever learn to be independent.
“Alex wants to be independent; to live on his own, maybe with a spouse. As such, our goal has been to prepare for him to make this happen,” Mshar wrote on Facebook.
“I sometimes (often) wonder if he can do it,” she shared. “I’m concerned that we aren’t teaching him enough or that he won’t learn it all.”
However, Mshar’s worries were assuaged one morning.
That morning, Mshar came back home from a family wedding in Colorado with a cold.
“Mike [was] out of town for work,” Mshar wrote. “The alarm went off, I shut it off and the next thing I knew it was 31 minutes later. A mere 20 minutes before we had to be out the door.”
I put on my sassy pants this morning.And lipstick.And my Mama Bear pendant.And kickin' shoes.I even did my…
Mshar woke up in a state of panic, knowing she only had 20 minutes left to prepare Alex and his brother for school. She ran downstairs frantically, wearing her sweatshirt.
Amid the chaos, she arrived at the kitchen, only to find Ben sitting at the table with his breakfast. And Alex was all dressed up, emptying the dishwasher.
Alex wants to be independent; to live on his own, maybe with a spouse. As such, our goal has been to prepare for him to…
“Alex had gotten everything started this morning on his own. Both for himself and his brother. He knew what to do, and he rescued our morning,” Mshar wrote.
“All I had left to do was tie up the loose ends.”
Seeing what Alex had done, Mshar couldn’t be prouder.
She told Alex “how proud I am of him for being so kind and responsible,” according to A Plus.
To which, Alex “lit up, thrilled that he had done something so mature and had made me so happy.”
It's not quite Disney, but ice fishing with Dad is great too!
Facebook users have praised the young lad for his act.
One user wrote, “This is so amazing! You should be proud mama! Sweet boy.”
Another commented, “So reassuring when we get to see they are so much more capable than we realize!”
“This warms my heart and gives me hope for my son, about whom I have similar worries. Great job, Alex!” another wrote.
Alex is a 16 year old boy who doesn't like to be called a boy. He loves hot dogs, pizza, coffee and ice cream; and…
No matter what the future may hold, Mshar understood that Alex “is on his way to independence.”
“He does chores, makes his own breakfast and lunch, and gets ready for each day independently, but getting breakfast for his brother and helping him get started on his day was a big leap in that direction,” Mshar told A Plus.
In case you wondered what I've been doing instead of writing. . .
Through this story, Mshar hopes readers see that those with Down syndrome can demonstrate a wide range of capabilities.
“I want them to understand that Down syndrome or other intellectual disabilities don’t define what a person is capable of doing,” she said.
Indeed, a child is much more than his diagnosis.
Contrary to many people’s views on the condition, individuals with Down syndrome can excel in school, work, and live independently too, if given the opportunity.