Extra Thankful for the Extra Chromosome

Today is National Down Syndrome Day, a day to celebrate some of my favorite people and the absolute joy they bring to this world. Down Syndrome is caused by a trisomy on Chromosome 21. And that extra chromosome has taught me so much about perspective, love, life, and happiness. Two of my best friends have Down Syndrome, and my life is forever changed by these two. An extra chromosome has shown me that there is never too much love you can show someone, through the countless hugs and smiles I get from my friends. An extra chromosome has shown me that there is no disability, only ability. Ability to dream, love, and truly live life to the full. When I am with my best friends, I feel like the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams should be playing. With lyrics like “clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.” Because that is what they exude, happiness. Happiness like I have never seen before, happiness in every aspect of their life.

When I met my best friend Miles in Kindergarten, I had no idea my life would change through this friendship, he is the type of friend everyone needs. He is caring, funny, and full of personality. He loves UK, everything Beechwood, and steak. He shows me that there are no limits to what life has to offer and that every day can be “awesome” (one of his favorite words) if you set your mind to it.

This year I met my friend Devin. She is loving, talented, and funny. She makes me feel loved through compliments and (lots of) hugs. She sings Taylor Swift with me, and loves queso just as much as I do. We are basically meant to be best friends. She makes me laugh, and teaches me what life to the full truly looks like. To Devin everything is “perfect” and I think life would look a lot different if everyone looked at it like it was “perfect”.

I took time today to really reflect on my friends and the impact they have had on my life, and I felt so overwhelmed with joy. I am struggling to put it into words, because it is just one of those things you need to experience for yourself. Life is so special, and I’m learning that every single day through people like Miles and Devin. An extra chromosome has given me EXTRAordinary friends, and for that I am forever grateful. I hope these friends feel celebrated today, and every day.

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