October is Down Syndrome awareness month. Here is my personal story.

I don't handle regret well. I try not to have any at all but the ones I do, have really left a mark.

My wife and I tried to have children for YEARS. We did infertility and drugs to try and get pregnant. It never worker. Trying and failing began to take it's toll and we became jaded. Disassociated from our friends with kids because it was just too hard. We just believed we weren't meant to have one and made peace with that.

About 10 years later, on Easter Morning of 2016, my wife woke me up to tell me she was pregnant. I told her to shut up and get back in bed, not gonna believe it until I hear it from a doctor. Well, the doctor said, "it's real. You are going to be a daddy." So, we too a test to see if it was a boy or a girl. They called back and told my wife the baby is 95 percent likely to have Down Syndrome... and it's a girl. They gave us "termination dates." We were extremely repulsed by the suggestion. Hey, it may be the best option for some but this was our miracle baby. No friggin' way. They brought up termination one more time before we asked them nicely to never bring it up again.

We were pretty devastated. Later, I ran into a friend who had a child with Down Syndrome and he set me straight on what was about to happen. A grandpa told me "I won the lottery." We never prayed for our daughter NOT to have it. We prayed for a healthy baby.

Our kid is awesome. She has a few developmental challenges but she is smart, funny and the cutest thing I have ever seen. She has made this pandemic so much more fun. Now that we are home, we have seen amazing improvement and keep pushing forward. More than anything else, she loves to be included. She loves crafts, doing the dishes and helping around the house. She LOVES TO BE INCLUDED.

We see therapist all the time, speech, occupational and physical. We have her in Pants home school and now virtually from her preschool. She is very inspiring, determined and the best thing that has ever happened to the Pants family. No kidding.

It does take a village but this is the most important investment we have ever made. The best resources are other parents and special needs teachers.

Type in Nugget and WMMQ on google or bing... She is already making the world a better place for many. She is already more popular than her daddy. I couldn't be more proud.

It's a different road we are taking to a different town but it's a hell of a ride.

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