Meet Alexander. A “typically” developing child with the love for kids of ALL abilities. Alexander started his journey in this world 6 weeks early and I thought he was the perfect, healthy, baby boy. However, he had some medical challenges in the beginning. We spent 6 weeks in the PICU while they figured out why he had extremely high BP. The best the docs could come up with is that his body wasn’t producing the right level of hormones, but they couldn’t figure out why. It has been in normal range now for 4 years, but I still hold my breath every time the docs take his BP. Not knowing why it happened will always be in my mind. He has also had 5 surgeries for various things in his 6 short years. He’s a fighter.

While Alexander may be “typically developing”, he has been surrounded with kids of all abilities for as long as I can remember. As he has grown, we have taught him that each and every kid is different and that it’s ok to ask questions of those who look different or act different, that it’s OK to be curious. But, what is not ok is to stare, point, laugh at, or exclude any person because of those differences. Those differences are what makes us who we are.

Now, Alexander has a best friend with a little brother who is doing things on his own time. He communicates differently and Alexander doesn’t miss a beat. He makes sure to include him when they are all playing and gives him so much love.

One of my best friends has four children, one of which has T8M-Trisomy 8 Mosaicism. He also had a double VSD, which led to open heart surgery at just 5 months old. We’ve been there for his journey. Alexander knows that Matthew is different, he asks questions, but above all, he protects him and loves him fiercely.

Children are taught who to love and hate, they are taught how to react to those who are different. As his parent, it is my job to be sure he sees people of ALL abilities as who they are, not as their diagnosis. We are so honored to be a Doll and to promote the inclusion that we teach him every day. And, to those mommas struggling with a diagnosis of some kind, we’re always here with an open ear.