Military Special Needs Network

Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent

A Letter to My Daughter


Dear Mattie,


You changed me. On the day that you were born, I became someone else. You changed me. I will be thankful to you, for all of my days. You came along and gave me something to be passionate about. A cause to fight for. Your entrance into my life taught me to be humble, to fight like hell, and about what was really most important in life. I am a better person because you changed me.

You taught him. Daddy has learned to slow down. To take pride in the ordinary, because ordinary can be extraordinary. You taught him to sit back, relax, and snuggle. You made him more flexible. He has learned about unconditional love and making tough, protective, sometimes uncomfortable choices. He is a better man because you taught him.

You made us strong. Our family is stronger because you challenged us. We had to find a new normal that worked for us. You are stubborn and require much out of us, but it has created 5 strong, independent, and capable people. Your brothers are blessed with the fact that they don’t see the disability around them, but they see ability and beauty that others overlook. You challenged our family and it made us stronger, each one of us. We have grown because of you.

You educated them. As your Mom, I have often fought educators to see past your disability and to see your ability, at first, until you educated them. You have taught so many people in the education system to not “judge a book by its cover.” You have educated your educators and they have learned so much. Some of my favorite moments as your Mother have been hearing the things your educators have learned since meeting you. Seeing their pride in you and your abilities, as they also have pride in their ability to teach you. They also may view themselves as ordinary, while they in fact are extraordinary. They set out to educate you, but you in turn educate them.

You heal them. I take you to doctors for precaution and treatment and while you are there you touch their heart. Your doctors are some of your biggest believers and some of the most important players on our team. Their jobs must be stressful, but when you are present they can’t help but smile. I have seen a full grown dentist lay back in a chair so you could examine him, I have heard a developmental pediatrician’s excitement when you did CPR on her little person figurine, and you have given as many checkups as you have gotten. We have been lucky, that’s for sure, but they have been lucky too, because you touched them.

You turned them into advocates. Your beautiful smile and your fun, sassy personality has wrapped extended family and friends right around your pinky. They have learned about your disability. They have cheered for your accomplishments and prayed for you during difficult times. They are a huge part of the support structure for our family. It is so exciting to see people step up and educate and advocate for disabilities. You created a whole network of advocates.

You changed it! One encounter at a time. Every little interaction. Every time you refused to pay attention to the limits they put on you. Your bubbling, sassy, bigger than life personality has changed our corner of the World. Your presence has made my world a better place.

I am thankful for the change, the teaching, the strength, the education, the healing, and the advocacy I get to see daily. I am thankful for your something extra, for the struggles, challenges, and the tough times. I am thankful for the change I see in our world. Life is so much more beautiful with you in it!

I don’t know what you will “be” when you grow up? You give me a new answer every day. A doctor, a mailman, a Mommy. The thing I am sure of; I will never put limits on your ability! I know I’ll be proud though, whatever you choose.

I love you more than you will ever know, Mattie Marie! Happy World Down Syndrome Day!

Love, Mommy

Today’s post was written by our dear MSNN friend, Jessica Huckaby, in honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

Comments, discussion and insight always welcome!

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This entry was posted on October 10, 2016 by in All and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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