What if your child had a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome? Have you ever wondered what it feels like after getting the news? For me, it was like going skydiving.
The first time my husband and I went skydiving it was so breathtaking. Everything went smoothly from beginning to end. The temperature was perfect, the sky was clear and we landed safely on our feet. It was so incredible, and we kept saying we need to do it again when the time is right. After months of planning, I got to tell my husband, “We are going skydiving again!”
We couldn’t wait to tell everyone because for a little bit we weren’t too sure we would get to experience it again. So now we had a date in the books and were counting down the days until we would make the jump. That’s when things started to go awry. We got a call that the weather wasn’t looking in our favor and there may be some cloud cover, so we needed to decide if we should cancel or not.
My husband and I took a few days and did some research. Some sites on the internet made it seem very unpredictable. Others believed as long as you know ahead of time and take proper precaution, some extra clouds in the sky are no big deal. We shared our situation with friends and family and began to realize the decision was ours and only ours. It did not take long until we decided that were sticking to our original plans, but now we were prepared for whatever may come our way.
As time went on and our next big adventure was approaching, I couldn’t help but form a million questions in my head. Can I really do this? Things aren’t exactly the same as the last time, so can I manage it all? Am I really ready to take this jump into a sky that is unfamiliar and somewhat intimidating?
I love the thrill and adventure of doing things a little different, but do I really have the support of others if I need them? At times, it was hard to shut out the doubt, but at the end of the day, I chose to make this reservation and I was sticking with it.
Well, the big day arrived and we were going skydiving! We were suited up and paired with the best qualified instructors in all of the county. My stomach was in knots, but I kept a smile on my face and knew no matter what my husband and I were doing this together.
As the plane started to accelerate, I became overwhelmed with emotions. I was so excited, anxious, scared, grateful, but, most of all, ready. We walked to the door of the plane, got in position and jumped. It was unbelievable how at that moment all my fears disappeared. I was looking at the clouds under me, and although I wasn’t able to see the ground just yet, I knew everything was going to be OK.
The way down was a bit different than the last time. In order to land safely, we had to pull the shoot and soar a little. I was actually grateful for this because it allowed me to experience moments I missed or took for granted the first time. The best part was just like the last time — I landed safely on my feet with my husband smiling at me and feeling like we just created a moment so many will miss or have missed out
In the end, the sun broke through the clouds and the shadows fell behind us. We realized every jump is different, every cloud in the sky is unique and each journey has value and purpose. Now I’m so happy to be a part of the Down syndrome community, and I’m happy to connect with others who know how it feels to take that jump.
I feel fortunate to be able to now share my stories and experiences with others. If it were up to me, I would tell everyone to experience skydiving on a cloudy day.