What I Wish I Knew


When I found out Mom was pregnant with a baby who would have Down syndrome, I confess.  I was scared.  I didn’t know what it would mean for his life or for ours.  Well, recently World Down Syndrome Day was celebrated, and I saw this sweet post by  Amy Julia Becker, who lists five things she wishes she had known when she learned that her daughter was born with Down syndrome.  Here are two that jumped out at me:

You think Down syndrome means tragedy, and people will compare your experience to that of losing a child in a car accident or to cancer or some other horrible fate. And though you will experience a sense of loss, you will realize eventually that you have lost a hypothetical child, and that the child right in front of you, this child, with her sparkling eyes and crooked teeth and warm soft hand, this child is a blessing. In time, because of the privilege of knowing and loving her, you will realize that your grief has turned to gratitude and that your worry has turned to wonder.


You think Down syndrome means isolation, but you will discover that it brings a world of connections. It’s not only that you will now feel a bond with other parents of children with Down syndrome throughout the country and around the globe. It’s that having a child who looks and acts somewhat different from what you expected, a child who you see as beautiful and funny and kind and smart and brave, will help you to recognize that same beauty in everyone else. You will think your world has become smaller, when it has only begun to grow.

Read the other three here.

I can say Trig is one of the best things that has ever happened to our family!  I love him so much!! He shows life in a different light, he’s just a love bug. Now that he’s been in preschool, I can tell he’s learning so much.  I love seeing him grow up. It’s like everything he does is so big now! We’re so proud of him for everything he accomplishes. He just lights up our life. I love you, brother!

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  • https://www.facebook.com/jill.newsom Jill Newsom

    God Bless you and your family this beautiful Easter season!

  • Sue Lynn

    We love him to. God Bless Trig and his entire family!!!

  • Joseph

    That is awesome to hear; God bless little Trig! :)
    He sure growing up, and looking cuter every day!

  • TrueBlue

    A lovely tribute to your brother!

  • Thomas

    I have no problem Down Syndrome kids in the least bit, fact is Trig can hang out with me any day of the week ssshish heck he can even bring his cus. Tripp along with him we could have a great time.

  • mary yarbro

    Bristol, I really enjoyed reading your blog about Trig. It reminded me so much of my brother “Mac” who passed away in 1997 at age 53. At one time living to the age of 30 was an extremely long life for those with Down’s. He was my “big” brother. He brought so much to our lives. Mac had 12 brothers and sisters, me being the youngest. Every one of us adored him. I so appreciate your Mom and Dad and the rest of your family.

  • Thotocv

    Thomas , you are sooooo creepy

  • Michele

    Hi Bristol. :) Thanks for this post. When I had my Natalie there were people who said to me “Oh, I’m so sorry” and I had to CORRECT them and say “Well, I’M not sorry!” I believe that having a child with special needs, particularly Down Syndrome, in your family sweetens every family relationship. It brings things into much sharper focus and helps each person find joy where they would not have seen it before. These children change lives, even strangers’ lives, for the better every day. The blessings of having them in our lives always outweigh the difficulties. We all have lessons to learn from these special ones who love unconditionally, forgive quickly, and live happily every day. Much love to you and to your sweet brother and family. xoxo

  • Jennifer

    Bristol, this is such a great post, I hope a lot of people will read it. Trig is as blessed to have such a loving family, as you all are to have him in your life. You’re a wonderful sister Bristol. My sister is 11 years older than I am but I never received such a nice birthday wish from her like the one you sent to Piper!
    Your Mom posted this same photo of Trig a while ago and it’s my absolute favorite. What a cutie!
    Happy Resurrection Day to all of the Palins

  • Thotocv

    Who takes care of Trig with all the travelling around Sarah and Todd do? I know a family with a boy with DS about the same age and i see what it requires of the parents especially whdn they are under 3 years. And why doesn’t he always wear his glasses? It’s very rare to see him wearing then in photos.

    • Jules

      You’ve seen a handful of pictures of a child you don’t know and you attempt to make an assessment about his life day to day as if you watch him grow up? That’s wonderful logic. Not. Sarah, nor Todd, travel that much. Did you parents never leave you with a sitter, an adult sibling? I suggest you stick to being critical of your own life, as it’s the only one youll know.