“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3 5-6
I’m always amazed how the book of Proverbs speaks to me; at the same time, I’m not surprised. The Bible is God’s word and it’s how he communicates with us! Easter Sunday became a time of reflection for me. Immediately I compared our lives on Sunday to what our life was like on Easter Sunday, one year ago.
We were rejoicing because after a very long and hard 90 days, our family was all together in our home; we were able to attend church on Easter Sunday as a complete unit. Our hospital and NICU chapters were over; we were thrilled, right—WRONG. Our story as a family had just entered the rising point. We didn’t realized our story hadn’t climaxed, although we thought it had; little did we know, the hardest times we’re still ahead of us.
As I look at our Easter pictures from last year, now I see the terror and exhaustion in our faces. I am reminded of the challenges WE faced; the challenges I faced, thinking I wasn’t going to survive this. I also see the resentment and depression I was fighting, because this wasn’t the life I wanted; definitely not the life I dreamed of having. I didn’t want to be a mother and I certainly didn’t want to have three babies at one time. However, one thing I wasn’t grieving, was Coldon’s Down syndrome diagnosis.
I spent a good portion of last year waiting for his diagnosis to bring me down; I waited for the time I would feel the need to grieve. To this day, I haven’t needed to grieve his diagnosis. Some might find this odd or not typical, but I’ve had a glorious peace and acceptance for his diagnosis, even in the beginning. I have found my myself being in disbelief that it hasn’t impacted me emotionally and often questioned “how can I feel so calm and at ease about my child living a life with a disability?” I was forgetting the most important part of this equation— God.
Seeing how my life has unfolded and come full circle; I know why I was at peace and ease with something many people would have grieved— it was God’s work in me. God was speaking to me and showing his love for me and my family; confirming he was in control, we were going to be ok and that he had a higher purpose for me. Realizing now, what was happening in this time; the depression, the fear, the challenges and the unknown, was me not hearing God’s voice. Once I finally put my faith in him and and listened, my life made sense; I now know why I was chosen to be the mother of triplets; I know why I was chosen to be blessed with the gift of Down syndrome, through one of my triplets, Coldon.
This wasn’t the path/life I wanted; definitely not the life I planned for. However, God being all knowing, saw the bigger picture and what would come from the challenges of being a triplet parent with an unexpected Down syndrome diagnosis. Let’s step back in my past for two seconds: I was a sophomore in college and decided I wanted a career in Washington D.C., lobbying for change and advocating for people who needed someone to fight for them. I decided to change my major from Apparel Merchandising (what woman wouldn’t want to make a living spending other people’s money) to something that suited who I was; Communications with emphasis on Public Relations and a minor in Political Science. I’ve always been crazy about politics, legislation and policy, but I didn’t want to teach; so I chose a poli-sci minor. I was determined to make it to Washington, but life happens and I never made it. I chased several pipe dreams that ended in dead end opportunities; however, through these dreams, found a skill and happiness in Marketing. I enjoy working in Marketing, especially social media and have learned how to make my voice known.
Moving forward to Fall 2019: I began telling my story through short descriptions and pictures of our day to day life; challenges, milestones and all. Soon, I was writing so much the character limits of Facebook and Instagram weren’t enough to tell my story; I needed somewhere to put my words and thoughts—where other moms could still reference it. So, I created Coldon’s Krewe and http://www.coldonskrewe.com. What began as a simple blog, for an anxious mom to share her story; quickly transitioned into a reference and support, for families with children who have disabilities.
On an ordinary day in early February, 2019; I was contacted by a staff member from the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), to invite me to the C21 pop-up dining experience in New Orleans. In all posts, I tag NDSS and many other Down syndrome organizations in hopes of having my picture/post shared to their pages, as they have a much larger number of followers. Little did I know how a post celebrating surviving the triplets first year would change my life. Amazing doesn’t begin to describe the C21 dinner; inspired, informed and compelled to join in advocacy, to end Lawsyndrome.
I arrived to C21, expecting a networking opportunity; but walked out the same doors with an aggressive fire lit in my heart to use my education, skills and passion to help others and do my part; change laws forcing Coldon and all individuals to remain labeled by society’s “disability” stereotype. Society views these incredible people as “different” and incapable of living meaningful lives. That day, I committed myself and devoted my life, as a mother, to do whatever I need to do, to ensure Coldon receives the same opportunities and treated as an equal to his brother and sister. As an advocate; I’m going to fight for all individuals with disabilities equality.
While attending the Buddy Walk on Washington, in March, 2019; I was walking to the Russell Senate building from our U.S. Capitol for my first meeting with one of my U.S. Senators. I suddenly stopped walking and almost broke into tears. I was fulfilling a dream of a younger 20 something, sophomore in college (over 10 years ago). I was “pounding the pavement” of Capitol Hill to make a change; making a change for my child. At this very moment, my life suddenly made sense; God’s plan for me and my purpose became very clear. I knew then exactly why I was chosen to conceive triplets and why Coldon has Down syndrome. I had the skills, knowledge and passion to create platforms and campaigns to help others; however, I lacked what was needed to set myself apart from others who possess the same attributes— I’m a mom with a unique set of triplets and people want to hear my story!
Fast forward to Easter Sunday, 2019; had I not been blessed with triplets, I wouldn’t be able to draw the amount of attention we receive; triplets aren’t as common as one child born at a time. Had we not been blessed with Coldon’s Down syndrome diagnosis; I wouldn’t have the rare occurrence of a set of triplets with one who has a genetic disability. If I hadn’t been blessed with Coldon, Ella and Greyson, I wouldn’t have a personal reason to advocate; I would never have know about the incredible group of people who are more than deserving of equality and change.
As I reflect back on Easter Sunday last year, as well as my past, I see a determined woman in search of her role; in search of guidance and answers. After spending many years trying to understand and learn what my purpose was; It only took triplets and Down syndrome for me to finally trust in God’s will for me and to listen to him—now I found that role, Mother and Advocate!
My purpose has two roles: one being the best mother I can be to my children; to advocate for them and ensure they have everything they need, to grow into the future God has planned for them. I have learned what a mothers love is; how to love three individuals so much, I would give up my own life for them. Second, as God blessed me with the passion, skills and knowledge to help others; my purpose is to serve as an advocate and voice for Coldon and all individuals with a disability. I have been blessed with a special platform and a unique way to spread my message; the individuals and their families I have come to know and love are the most deserving people and I’m incredibly blessed to have been chosen to represent and serve them!
The photographs from our Easter celebration represents so much more than a beautiful family; they represents contentment and happiness found after a very long, discouraging journey. They explain how when we put our trust in the Lord and let him guide us down our path, you will find purpose and meaning for your life. Everything happens for a reason; trust that God has a plan for you and one day, it will all of the sudden make sense!