British mom Molly Macleod said raising a son with Down syndrome is not what she expected.
But sometime life’s surprises bring unexpected joy.
Macleod’s 3-year-old son, Maxwell, has done just that. Born on World Down Syndrome Day in 2014, Maxwell recently turned 3 years old. The British mom said her toddler has helped her whole family to “just live in the joy of the moment.”
In an open letter published in the Daily Mail, Macleod said her son has taught her so much about life and love.
“And we love to be near him, he’s funny and cheeky, he makes us laugh and feel good about the world, he is sensitive to our emotional state and is caring in his response to us,” Macleod wrote. “He makes us feel better for being around him and he doesn’t need words to do this.”
One of the family’s challenges has been communication. Maxwell has a language delay and is learning to communicate with sign language, but his mother said it has been a struggle at times.
“Yes, it would be easier if he could tell me that the reason he threw up everywhere in the middle of the night was simply because he ate too much, that I didn’t need to panic and rush him to the doctors where he would be embarrassingly charming and they would send me away feeling stupid.
“As with any child, verbal or not, you have to get wise to the nuances between real angst or pain and pure attention seeking behaviour. He’s not daft my son, oh no he knows exactly how to get what he wants, to make his opinion known.”
Macleod said her son’s communication struggles taught her to look at the world from a different perspective.
“He needs to interact with the world in a way that is uniquely his. Maxwell is teaching us all that communication is not just about what you say, but how you make people feel when they’re with you,” she wrote.
Later, she continued:
“So he cannot say ‘I love you’ but he gives me a hug so tight and a beaming smile so bright he makes me feel like the most treasured and loved person in the world. He cannot ask me what’s wrong, but he notices if I am sad or hurt and will try everything to make me feel better again.
“Maxwell has definitely brought me a different perspective on how we communicate with each other and with the world. He has shown me how to listen to what others are really telling me and not to assume that I know what they’re saying. He has taught me that there are a number of ways to enable our voice and opinion to be heard, for us to show others how we feel about them.”
Macleod’s open letter is a beautiful reminder that every human being has value, no matter what their abilities.