The Lucky Few

Long before Henry came along, I stumbled upon a beautiful family on Instagram with the handle @macymakesmyday. I loved them. I loved every picture, every update, every video. I was so excited the day they adopted their third child, the second with Down syndrome, that I remember telling Tim about it. What I remember about this family, the Avis's, was that they used the hash tag "#theluckyfew". I clicked it, and soon my phone screen was filled with pictures of children and adults with Down syndrome. "Cool", I thought. "It's a hash tag especially for families of people with Down syndrome." I didn't give it too much more thought.
A few years later, as you all know, we also joined the lucky few.
I remembered the Avis family two days after Henry was born. I was crying my eyes out in the shower, and this family flashed into my mind. 

They were happy. They had fun. They went places and did thongs together as a family. Their lives didn't end when they adopted children with Down syndrome. It seemed like their lives were almost enhanced by it.

I revisited their page and there were the words, staring back at me.

The lucky few.

Over the next few days, I kept thinking of this phrase over and over again.
How bad could Down syndrome be if those who loved someone with Ds could so openly and happily refer to themselves as lucky?

This phrase became my strength. It became my new mantra. In those moments when darkness and doubt crept in to my mind, I chased it away by repeating the phrase to myself.

We are the lucky few.
And thus, The Lucky Wells was born.

Photo: Sasha McCabe

A few months ago, Heather Avis announced she was writing a book. It is very appropriately titled The Lucky Few. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to read a pre-release of the book.
The book is wonderful. It is easy to read, and you will probably devour it in just a few hours.

I want to share a few of my most favorite quotes from this book. These words in particular jumped out to me throughout her story.

"I was feeling good. In fact, given the circumstances, I was feeling great. I had been thrown into the middle of the ocean and quickly learned I could swim. I dealt with the rip currents and waves like a pro....I was stronger than I ever thought I could be."

"When we announced to friends and loved ones that the baby we were adopting had Down syndrome, you could see the confusion and discomfort on their faces, but we didn't let it get to us. We simply smiled and said something along the lines of, 'Not many people get a child with Down syndrome. Aren't we lucky?'"

"Now that we are on the other side of our decision, I look back on this time and cringe. I almost weep tears of sorrow and terror at the thought that we might have said no to our Macy girl. I get angry, understanding that we had let our culture taint us into thinking that Down syndrome should go on the cons list when it should have been one of our pros. Friends, Down syndrome is only ever a pro."

The Avis family: Heather, Macyn, Truly, Josh and August

I decided to ask a few of my mom friends, what does The Lucky Few mean to you?

Not everyone's life has been enriched with Down syndrome.  It's one reason I let my daughter smile at a stranger, sometimes she invites them over for a play date or blows them a kiss or leaves with a hug.  Only a 'Lucky Few' have had the opportunity to have a child with Down syndrome, or a sibling, an aunt, an uncle, or a co-worker, or a chance to meet someone new who happens to have Down syndrome.  Only a 'lucky few' realize how lucky and/or blessed they are to have had that relationship or encounter. Fate sometimes puts the opportunity right in front of you - and it's up to you what you are going to do with it.  It may be difficult sometimes, but in the end hopefully the overall experience will leave behind great and a changed perspective for the future."
     - Melody, mom to Amber, 6 years old

"The Lucky Few...during those first few months of acceptance, that phrase is all I held on to...and then it hit me. Unconditional love, the sweetest snuggles, and the cutest little button nose I've ever seen. My love only grows for her as it does my other children but sometimes I think she truly is the lucky one. Society doesn't have expectations for her so she will amaze them all if she wants to. She can be anything and do anything she wants all while touching the hearts of everyone she encounters. Sure I can teach her a lot but she's teaching me more than I could ever teach her. I'm ready to slow down and see the world through her eyes. ❤"
     - Erica, mom to Lynnyx, 11 months old

And what does "the lucky few" mean to me?

It means that Down syndrome is not something to be feared, but something to be adored and cherished.

I am lucky because both of my children, but especially Henry, have shown me what truly matters in life and how to be a mother who focuses on what's important.
Tim and I are lucky because our little baby has shown us more about support, teamwork and love than I could have ever imagined. While we have always been close, it has only brought us closer. If I have a hard time accepting something, he steps up and takes the lead. I do the same for him.
Eli is lucky because he will forever appreciate Henry for the hard work he puts in to all he does. He is two years old and already has so much love and adoration for his brother. I marvel at Eli and the joy he exudes on a daily basis, especially when it comes to Henry. Its like he just knows that he has much to reach Henry, and much to learn from him as well.

We are humbled, overjoyed and LUCKY to be a part of the Down syndrome world.

To purchase Heather Avis's book, The Lucky Few, please click here.


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