I’ve got lots of labels in my life—I’m a wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend, employee, owner, Coloradan and Southerner (at heart).But labels don’t really tell you about a person. You have to get to know someone to really understand them—labels tend to put us in categories that don’t always fit. I learned this lesson when my oldest son and inspiration behind the book, Guion, was born. Here’s that story:
When Mac and I found out that we were pregnant with our first child we were initially thrilled and then nervous—what have we actually gotten ourselves into was running across my brain.
We prepared like many other parents, dreaming about what this child would become, reading books, preparing the nursery, wondering if we could really do this etc. Then that beautiful day arrived and Guion joined the world. It was an hour or so after his delivery that Mac told me Guion had Down syndrome. Honestly, when I first heard the news I cried. I was scared. Scared of the unknown not the diagnosis. What would this mean to our dream?
Mac and I (really Mac did the legwork) educated ourselves to help us better understand what Down syndrome actually meant and how it might change our world. My biggest learning is that people with Down syndrome are much more like me than they are different. Using Guion as my example, he has interests, capabilities and dreams that are like his siblings and friends. He loves basketball and swimming. He enjoys singing his heart out whenever the mood strikes—Memories by Maroon Five is a favorite and The Voice is a must see in our household. The Avengers can’t be beat when it comes to movies. His emotions run the spectrum—just like everyone else I know—he’s happy, sad, content, excited, mad, calm. And when it comes to chores or schoolwork he might need some extra help but don’t we all at times?
If you took everything that makes Guion, Guion but kept Down syndrome off the list, you’d be thinking about all the possibilities and opportunities in his future. Unfortunately for Guion, people label him with Down syndrome, people begin to see everything he CAN’T do. That’s not fair.
This concept of not labeling but being open minded to those different from ourselves is what gave birth to Guion the Lion. And it doesn’t stop with special needs. I’m sure all of us can relate to feeling on the fringe someplace in the world we live. And just think if we all took a moment to bring everyone in what a beautiful and colorful world it would be.
Inspired By Family
What I love about Guion, Hoke and Rae is that they are always surprising me—sometimes in the scare-you-around-the-corner way which doesn’t go over well—but in this instance it’s the good kind of surprise. Those moments when they have each others’ back. They watch out for each other and care for each other. Rae once tackled a kid who was pushing Guion around—she even ended up with a bloody nose and wore it proudly. I’m not a proponent of fighting but I am a supporter of standing up for those who need some help.
Hoke will tell everyone that Guion is his best friend. He is able to talk with him about anything and he loves Guion’s sense of humor. Do they fight? Yes! Do they make-up and move on? Yep! The kids have big hearts and care for each other but Guion probably shows us all up. If he sees someone sad or upset, he’ll make them a surprise—often a note that says “I love you” and a picture to accompany it. When he saw me frustrated one day,, he said, “I know something that will make you happy.” I responded with “What is that?” and he said, “I love you.” Well, he was 100% right about the impact. None of us get it right everyday, we can’t, we’re human. But we do need to remember to celebrate when we do experience those moments of beauty.
Hey friends, We’d love to hear from you . . .
Fill out the form below to send a letter to Guion.
For media inquiry, please contact Kelley DeVincentes of Southard Communications: Kelley@southardinc.com