But the spark of intelligence in her face and in her eyes has started to push the parameters of what I had thought was possible for her in the future.
I've started to dream again. I've started to allow myself to think about a future where a trade or a career isn't off the table. Where Phoenix will move into an apartment as a young adult and cook her own meals, and clean and decorate her own place and go to school or her job like any other young person.
These are hard words to write because I have been so critical of other parents in the disability community making bold statements like "I expect my child to go to college" or "My child is going to own their own home". I still mostly think they are ridiculous. But I've started to dream anyway. For the record, I don't expect that Phoenix will go to university; I don't expect her to own her own home. But I am daring to dream that Phoenix will be able to have an average ability to learn, grow and develop. And that her inborn talents will allow her to achieve the independence that most young people attain. That her future will have options, and possibilities and that she, and I, can dream.
Now, I normally hate pictures where Phoenix has her tongue hanging out. It just screams "Down syndrome" to me. Yes, I appreciate the irony of what I've just written. However, in this pic Phoenix is purposely sticky out her tongue to be a cheeky little monkey. So I am posting it to show the world how cute my daughter with DS is. Even with her tongue stuck out.