We are the proud grandparents of a sweet, warm, mischievous, personable, and loving young granddaughter. We laugh with her. We play hide and seek with her. We watch television with her. We go to the playground with her and slide down the sliding board together or jump the jungle bars together. We tell stories to her. We do everything with our granddaughter that other grandparents do with their grandchildren. Our granddaughter has Down syndrome.
We were in the hospital room when our daughter was told that her child was diagnosed with Down syndrome. We remember well our initial thoughts and concerns. Why us? How should we act toward our daughter and son-in-law? Is this something that we should talk about? Will she be able to speak? Recognize us? Will our granddaughter be able to function in the world? Will we love her as much? Will she love us as much? What does it all mean?
Although these questions are probably normal under the circumstances, please understand that they have answers. Your children will become an encyclopedia of information and will be a great source of inspiration to you. They are the parents who need to confront parenthood much differently than they anticipated. And so, as new grandparents, you must also confront grandparenthood differently from the way you anticipated.
Like all parents, your children will quickly come to understand that their child is a loving person with a distinct personality requiring understanding, patience, compassion and love. This will be transmitted to you by your children from day one leading to a smoother road to minimizing your fears and apprehensions. And you will also experience this the first time you set eyes upon your new grandchild.
Once you have experienced this, it will become great fun to run and jump and play and spoil your new grandchild who happens to have Down syndrome. You will experience the wonderful and exhilarating joy of being a grandparent, just like all the other grandparents –maybe even with a more pronounced joy.
Congratulations on the birth of your grandchild!
Richie and Phyllis Kane
(Pop- pop and Mom –mom)