“Let me Be Brave in the Attempt”


Today I was getting ready to take Tucker on his walk and he noticed the words on the back of my t-shirt.  Tucker doesn’t really read, so I read it for him. “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt” ( the Special Olympics Motto) As I finished those words my voice cracked and the tears filled my eyes-We had just finished a busy weekend of Special Olympics ceremonies, swimming competition and celebration. This was his 3rd year of competition, each year has had its own baggage of challenges and each year we inch our way into making it easier for him to deal with the sights and sounds of crowds and confusion with our favorite support tool: Young Living’s Vetiver essential oil; this year was no different except my gut was not in knots, full of fear, of how he would react.

Tucker would be competing in the same 3 events he had competed at in regional competition, but this time competition was in the Olympic sized pool instead of a regular high school swimming pool.  My concern was that he does not understand the depth of the pool and this year he would be swimming without the flotation device.  Tucker didn’t win a medal in his 25 m swim in the big Olympic sized pool, in fact, he technically would have been disqualified for this event.  We aren’t really sure of why he stopped during his  25 m swim, the start was rushed–maybe his goggles weren’t right? Who knows?  But one thing we do know,  he figured out he could not touch the bottom of this pool as he can in the pool they usually practice in.  He stopped and his head bobbed under at one point  and this over protective, deeply invested Mamma’s  heart sank and we were sure if he was going to make it across without assistance. He swam over to the lane divider and grabbed it for a moment, rubbed his nose and then continued on. The coach signaled one of the other coaches to be ready and the lifeguard watched ready to jump in and I hear a voice in my head  saying: “come on Tucker, just keep swimming!”  and I cheered and yelled and waved my arms like an insane, overexcited crazy woman as he swam and safely made it to the finish line of the edge of the pool all by himself.  This is one of those times where that Special Olympics motto rings SO true and warms a momma’s heart:  He WAS Brave!

special olympicsoath

Tucker is not a fast swimmer yet. He continues to be challenged  getting his kick and his arms to actually propel himself forward, but today his win was not about speed, not about style, it was about being brave during a time that could have put him into a panic, he took a deep breath and kept on swimming. Special Olympics continues to teach him many things and offer him ways to grow  and this year has proved no less of value as the first two.  No,  He did not  get a gold medal, but sometimes, just as in real life, we learn the greatest things  when we don’t come in first. We grow the most when things aren’t the easiest, but when they are the hardest; when we have to pull it all together and push and keep going with all  our might, like the little engine who could, despite your fear, despite everything else, you push with your will and you make it to the finish line and THAT, in itself, is the victory.  The “gold  medal”   is the feeling in your heart when your  “I think I can, I think I can”……becomes: I DID IT!!!!  and….” I thought I could, I knew I could,  I knew I would!!  iknewicould


My World Down Syndrome day at Classical Conversations

Today I visited classical conversations homeschooling group with Rhyker and Tucker- it brought back many memories of being at a co-op and trying to integrate Tucker – I remember the challenge Tucker had with the sensory overload, the anxiety and tummy issues it caused him- changing his dirty diaper on a blanket on the the floor in the handicap stall because he was too big to put on the changing table and there was no other place–the frustration of trying to get him to stay in a classroom and not understanding the sensory overload he was dealing with and finding myself frazzled, overwhelmed and in tears the whole way home. I did not have that same experience today- my now 20 year old young man sitting in a room of young children-who far surpass him in ability- the other kids stare- trying to make sense of this “man- boy” they watch him attempt to color and struggle to hold a colored pencil- he covers his ears when things get too loud; I wonder if he might decide to dart OUT of the building and I sit holding his hand wondering: Monica, are you insane? WHAT Are you DOING HERE????
One of the girls shares her snack with him- ❤️
And I’m reminded of why I came in the first place.
I don’t know how this will play out for me in the fall, but today I was reminder that I AM a Down syndrome mom- and that my son still doesn’t fit easily into this world of “normal”- but maybe, just maybe- this group might be a place where he can be the wonderful, “square peg” he is.


When our son was younger my husband came home one day and said a friend asked him this question:


I could say all sorts of mean things about this person and his question, in fact, at the time, I am sure I did.  It really just showed me his lack of understanding about what life is really about and that made me sad for him.

You begin to realize, when you travel such a road as this, that sometimes those who are really “disabled” are those who choose to live without understanding what is truly important.

tucker chilling


What kind of question is that?

At first the question angers me, 

But after a moment~ it just saddens me;

It is question of ignorance.

Some may question whether having 

any child is “worth it”.

It costs so much!

Time, energy, and money.

You life becomes caring for them,

Worrying about them.

Training and teaching them,

so that they may someday be able to care for themselves.

It’s all about giving~

Giving a part of yourself and

Sacrificing part of yourself to help another.

To help someone grow in love, 

so that their lives may be blessed 

with people who will love them and care for them.


photo by Erin Carlson

Having a child with mental and physical challenges

is not so different.

Yes, there are a lot more “things” to deal with~such as 

developmental,  and health issues and 

if your goal in life is to see your child

become a rocket scientist~

you will probably be disappointed.

But if your goal is to help build a person

to be the best that he can be.

To help this person overcome the many

obstacles that are in his way~

to help him learn, love and laugh~

You someday realize you are raising nothing short

of a little hero!


photo by Kelli Schmieder

and in the process you 

learn and grow so much

you begin to wonder……


has  actually been



tuckerwalk (1)