The sky is the limit. There is no other way to put it. We all want the best for our children and dream they can achieve and surpass their goals set in life. When a child is born into the world with special needs, this saying becomes even more significant. Ambition and drive must be nurtured and fostered to help our children with special needs tackle certain obstacles, allowing him or her every opportunity to succeed in life.
Our son Cole has Down syndrome. He is the oldest of four children. The beauty of him being the first child born to us was that we did not know any different as a parent—we just expected him to do everything like the other kids his age did. He motivated us to push his limits, encouraging him to achieve success in whatever he set out to do. Granted, it took longer than his siblings or neighbors, took multiple attempts or sometimes needed outside help to attain his goals, but we wouldn’t let him stop until he did. Thankfully, swimming, reading, riding a bike, playing sports, integration into the general education classrooms, independence and much more has all been tackled and we could not be more proud of these accomplishments.
As a family, we all seem to have a passion for the outdoors. We have taught our children to appreciate the beauty the world has given us, but found at the same time, that Cole has taught us more than we ever thought a child could do. On vacations, we slow down, we appreciate the smaller things, we smile at a passerby and ask them their name, we get excited to be together and play a simple game and best of all, find ourselves getting motivated to hike for the ultimate prize of a milkshake! Cole has hiked in 29 National Parks in our country and Canada and we are thrilled that he has the urge to see and do more. There is no doubt that his love for traveling, desire to hike and crave for adventure will allow us to stay close as a family and will continue to open our eyes to the splendor around us.
The sky is the limit. There are still so many things to see and so many items to accomplish. Cole reminds us to aim high, work hard and go the distance, all while taking the time to slow down and appreciate the finer things in life. It is a delicate balance, but so worth every step!