Mom’s Note For Her Son’s Babysitter
For children with special needs, acceptance doesn’t always come easy in a world that often sees “different” as scary. That’s why Kate Callihan, mom to a 2-year-old boy with Down syndrome, felt it was so important to pen an open letter to her son’s babysitter. And her powerful words are something everyone should read!
Understanding The Diagnosis
Kate admits she had a doom and gloom outlook when she first found out her unborn son, Pace (now 2 years old) would be born with Down syndrome.
In fact, as soon as the doctor confirmed the diagnosis, she sent an email to Nancy — the babysitter lined up to keep Pace once Kate’s maternity leave ended. Kate felt compelled to let Nancy know that, when the time came, Kate wouldn’t be dropping off “your typical bouncing baby boy.”
“In so many words I told you about his diagnosis and gave you an out if you wanted it. Scared and sad, I didn't know any better,” Kate writes in her letter to Nancy.
Kate hadn’t yet learned that loving a child with special needs is really no different than loving a child without them. She was still trying to work through her emotions. She was vulnerable and confused.
It made Nancy’s response to Kate’s email crucial:
“I think it took less than an hour for you to write me back to say you couldn't wait for him to join your daycare family. That he'd fit right in with your little bunch,” Kate writes in her open letter.
A Valuable Lesson
In that moment, Nancy taught Kate her first and most valuable lesson as the mom of a special needs child. That while her son was “different,” he was still perfect. And his disability should never be seen as a deal breaker in anyone’s eyes.
Two years later, as Pace prepared to move out of Nancy’s care and into preschool, Kate wrote to thank Nancy for that important lesson.
“I do believe it was you who planted that seed almost two years ago, before I'd even had time to understand what it meant,” she said in her letter. “Before I'd come to realize not every person we'll encounter will practice the kind of acceptance you so effortlessly showed us. The special needs community preaches it daily – our children are more alike than they are different.”
Setting An Example
Kate wanted to write (and share) the letter to Nancy in the hopes that the babysitter’s kindness would inspire others.
“I think more people need to know that with a heart and mind geared towards acceptance and inclusion of everybody." Kate said. "The world is a lot less scary if more people saw the unknown, ‘the different', as an opportunity. Well, the world would be so much sweeter for all of us. Nancy saw right past my son's diagnosis from the get go. It's such a simple thing but it's huge to a parent. It's everything. It's all we ask of our community is to see passed the diagnosis or the disability and see our kids!"
Please share Kate’s powerful message to help spread awareness about children with special needs and inspire others!
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