Today is the 21st of March and after the seasons of fallen leaves and snow, we can finally say spring has arrived. It’s always been one of my favourite seasons, partly because I’m not a huge fan of the cold and know sunny days are within reach but also because I have many treasured memories of day trips to our local farm visiting the baby animals and spring chicks with my boys.
My boys, my babies X4! In reality, two of them are now grown men in their 20’s and no longer live at home, while my youngest two have many years to go before they can also fly the nest. The oldest of the bunch, Kai who is 24 has only recently moved out and now lives with my other son, his brother and best friend Ravelle.
As I am typing this, I feel a sense of motherly pride, happiness and relief, that in spite of the usual sibling rivalry and inevitable arguments (which I often played referee to) they have in fact always remained exceptionally close and have an undeniable bond that is also apparent in their younger siblings.
Eli and Angelo, ‘the little ones’ as we fondly call them. The ones who take up 50% of my ‘mummy world’ will grow up always knowing that today is not just the 21st of March but that it also marks a day we now know to be called ‘World Down Syndrome Awareness Day’.
Before Angelo, who is the baby of the pack came along none of us knew this day existed but all that changed during my pregnancy, when it was confirmed that this little life I was growing had an extra chromosome and a diagnosis of having Down Syndrome. To be honest I was an emotional wreck back then and almost everyone we knew was worried. One of the main concerns that our family had was the effect it would have on Eli who was only three. Would he be neglected because this new baby would take up most of our time? What would happen if I wasn’t able to cope? How would I cope? There were so many unknowns and we were being fed so much negative information that any excitement of our new baby’s arrival was being overshadowed with doubt.
Then finally on the 5th of May 2017, Angelo arrived and right from that moment, all those feeling of doubts and uncertainties were replaced with a feeling of love that was embellished. Finally, we were able to get excited and look forwards to our future as a family and watch our younger sons’ bond just like I had watched the older ones.
If only I had been able to think as Eli does way back then. He doesn’t see anything except his baby brother when he looks at Angelo. Of course, he knows his little brother has Down Syndrome but more importantly, he also knows that Down Syndrome is NOT his baby brother! Angelo has taught Eli things you cannot learn in school, things that are equally as vital to our growth as human beings, humility, patience, tolerance among them. When I watch them together, I can see only benefits to their relationship. Angelo is such a confident little boy with a great sense of humour that has Eli rolling around in laughter and his determination to meet his milestones fills him with pride.
The one thing I do notice that is different between them at this age and their older brothers is their lack of arguments. Maybe that’s simply because Angelo’s speech is delayed and he uses more Makaton at the moment, but I don’t mind missing out on being a referee for the second time around, so its happy days!
The 3-year-old that everyone was once so concerned for is now a headstrong 6-year-old with a protective nature who knows right from wrong. He stands up to bullies sees the best in people and embraces differences whatever they may be and his little brother is his biggest fan. Just like their older brothers, their bond continues to grow and together they will always have a friend.
World Down Syndrome Day: You’ve Got A Friend Credits:
Photographer: Donna Ground @cockney_rebel_photography
Eli: Top & Trousers: Cribstar @cribstar
Angelo: Top by My K By Myleene @mykbymylene, Trousers: Another Fox @another.fox, Asda Red Hat
Check out our other features and editorial featuring a brotherly bond on Junior Style HERE.
World Down Syndrome Day: You’ve Got A Friend Photography by Donna Ground @cockney_rebel_photography – All rights reserved.
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