Motherhood

Parenting Twins: One Has Down Syndrome, The Other Doesn’t

Parenting with Down Syndrome

Almost four years ago, I gave birth to one boy and one girl…

They both had blonde hair, they both cried right away, they both had ten fingers and ten toes. They were both beautiful. They pooped, spit up, and wanted to nap and eat together, all around the same time. Many parents of twins will tell you that it can be hard to separate them for a long time — there is a weird pull to have them close to each other. Side-by-side was how Wally and Kenzie spent every single day.

But our situation was a little different, because our twins were different: Our daughter Kenzie has Down syndrome, and our son Wally does not.

I was 19 weeks along in my pregnancy when we found out. My husband and I spent the rest of my pregnancy not only preparing for twins, but preparing for a child with special needs. I immediately felt like my pregnancy was a fraud. I remember thinking my twins wouldn’t know each other, they wouldn’t play, they wouldn’t fight, they wouldn’t be like other twins, and I sat silently with that crushing thought, until I met them.

On the day they were born, my fears evaporated. Kenzie and Wally were the same. They were babies, needing what every baby needs: food, sleep, diaper changes and love. For a few months, there was no difference between them. My husband and I would pass them back and forth while we watched TV late at night. It was bliss. Hard and messy bliss, but total, absolute bliss.

Then, at around three months old, Wally propped himself up on his elbows and lifted his head. Kenzie lay on the floor next to him and cooed. At four months, he sat up on our laps and held his body upright. Kenzie lay on my chest and snuggled into my neck. At 10 months, Wally was crawling. Kenzie was not. At 14 months, Wally took his first steps. Kenzie did not. At 16 months, Wally was saying a few words. Kenzie was not.

That nagging feeling of Kenzie not keeping up crept into my thoughts, and soon I wasn’t able to focus on much else. Of course, I knew that comparing them was useless, but it was easy to see the gap widening between them. Kenzie received therapy at home, and it was heartbreaking to see how hard she had to work to pick up a block, to curl her chubby fingers around a toy and transfer it to her other hand. Meanwhile, Wally did it all so easily, sitting to the side quietly building a tower of blocks with a delicateness that Kenzie would need to work years for. While raising a child with special needs, I had another child shouting with every easy movement, “Like this! She should be doing it like this!”

He was a constant reminder that Kenzie was delayed, that she had a disability.

For a long time, the celebrations of Kenzie’s success were exaggerated in an attempt to compensate. When she accomplished something she had been working towards for a while, we celebrated. We telephoned family, we told everyone we knew. We were proud of her, but maybe… we didn’t expect that she would do it? Only now, looking back, do I wish we had treated those milestones with a little less excitement, and a little more “Yeah, girl, we knew you could do it. Let’s move on to the next one.”

Kenzie started walking at two-and-a-half with her brother jumping and bounding around her. Not ahead of her, but in celebration of her. Now, Kenzie, at three-and-a-half years old, is beginning to say words, and it’s usually Wally who knows what she wants before Mom or Dad do. And my perspective, too, has changed.

When I was pregnant, I felt angry with the universe. But I had no idea of the actual gift I was getting: A world where my daughter teaches my son compassion and kindness each and every day. A world where my son teaches my daughter to push herself and be braver than she thinks she can. Now I finally see the truth: The universe gave me twins whose very differences make each other better.

Wally loves to run around our yard at full tilt, and lately Kenzie has been joining in. The joy on Wally’s face when his sister plays with him is enough to make my heart burst. They communicate without words and always know what the other is saying, the way twins do — I’m happily watching it all unfold. Kenzie loves music and her dolly, while Wally loves trucks and puzzles; the difference in preferences isn’t because one of them has an extra chromosome, it’s because they are individuals. And I wouldn’t wish their relationship to be any other way.


Thank you, Katie!

Parenting with Down Syndrome

Parenting with Down Syndrome

P.S. Beautiful reader comments on parenting, and home as a haven. And one mother shares: “I had a stillborn baby.”

  1. I love this article. I went through a similar (but different because no twin) journey with my child, who has global developmental delay.

  2. Matt says...

    Hi there!

    What a great account of your journey! My twins are 7, a boy and a girl, and she has DS, he does not but we don’t hold it against him. I marvel daily at their capacity of acceptance of each other, something that I would have taken for granted if they were typical. My son doesn’t see DS, he sees his sister. To me that is the most important lesson we can impart on the public….see the person. Not the disability. If you are ever in Western NY DM me… we have lots to share!

    • Anna says...

      “We don’t hold it against him.” Loved this.

  3. Manda says...

    great article,.. but that PHOTO! Needs to be a Greeting Card!
    “Have your cake, and eat it too” Happy Birthday! <3

    • Hahah!! You are so right!

  4. Thank you, Katie, for sharing your story. I also have twins – one is neurotypical and one with a genetic syndrome. I have followed you on Instagram for about a year and am so excited that you have been able to share your story through Cup of Jo – which I’ve been reading for 9 years! Keep sharing your life as you have been – you are a great encouragement to others!

    • Thank you for following along on our journey for so long!

  5. Maria says...

    Lovely! So beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

  6. SO says...

    Just wanted to point out that we should all be aware of our choice of language when we talk about disability. “Special needs” is an outdated term that is no longer used in school settings (see links about that below). And it’s always good to check with a person on if they prefer person-first. language “individuals with a disability/autism/Downs” or if they prefer identity-first language “disabled individuals.” Whenever I don’t know I default to person-first, but it’s always good to ask!

    Links on why special needs isn’t used:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNMJaXuFuWQ
    https://www.meriahnichols.com/3-reasons-say-disability-instead-special-needs/
    https://theoneinamillionbaby.com/2018/01/18/we-cant-keep-using-special-needs-we-need-to-listen-to-disability-advocates-now/
    “Disability is not a dirty word. So why do so many people shrink from it and jump through linguistic hoops just to avoid it?”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank yo

    • Liz says...

      I was at dinner one time, and a friend was describing Ethiopia as a third world country (another phrase that has been criticized for being eurocentric, outdated, etc). They were politely chided about the phrase, but the original speaker calmly replied with the fact that they were born and raised in Ethiopia and consider it a third world country. It was a wake up call for me – if this mother, who so diligently shared her story, wants to describe her child as special needs, who am I to correct her language? She knows her child (or her home country) better than I do.

    • Katie Larissa says...

      Yes, Liz. Thank you. As the sister of a special needs woman, I appreciate your logical response.

    • Roxana says...

      I appreciate this, but as the mother of a kiddo who has Down syndrome, I am not at all bothered by the term “special needs.” I’m also fine with saying “disability.” I guess I don’t see either as a dirty word. I think the former is broadly understood to communicate people who might not be “typical.”

      Either way, I think you’re right to check with the person (or their parent/loved-one) about what kind of language they’d prefer. Even if you stumble and use the “wrong” word, the effort and sensitivity to language is enough to win me over :).

      I will say this, I do NOT like it when my son is referred to as a “Downs baby” or “Downs kid.” I cringe internally. He is not Down syndrome. He is so much more. Just like we are all so much more than a certain characteristic we might have. A good friend of mine repeatedly calls him a “Downs baby” and I actually haven’t had the heart to correct her. She does do it when it’s contextually appropriate (i.e. we’ll be talking about Down syndrome or disability, etc.). Anyway, I’m just waiting for the right time! If I’m being fair, though, I struggled to see passed my son’s diagnosis when we first met him, so I need to acknowledge that. I think that’s a universal human struggle, though. We like labels and have a hard time looking passed them.

      Anyway, thank you for your sensitivity to all this. I personally find it very thoughtful and appreciate any effort to “get it right.” :)

    • Ophelia Q. says...

      To those saying they like using the term special needs above: you all have described your relationship to people with disabilities, but does that give you the authority to use that term when people within the disablled community (including disability theorists) prefer you’d not? Reason #1 on the “3 reasons to say disability instead of special needs” article is because people with disabilities often don’t want you using the term special needs. Additionally, the video that was linked was created by a group of adults with disabilities self-advocating for a change in the language used to describe themselves, is that not convincing enough?

      This is why I’d love for Cup of Jo to feature a writer with a disability, perhaps a disability activist, or maybe just someone who wants to share their perspective attached to their identity. We’ve had two articles from mom’s of children with disabilities, which have been so wonderful and valuable, but here we are speculating in the comments about the disabiled experience with very few voices of people with disabilities being elevated.

    • A says...

      @ Ophelia Q — as a woman with a disability I could not agree more with your perspective. I have enjoyed the two recent articles featuring moms with kids who have a disability and I do think their perspective is also valuable. However it’s sometimes frustrating to have able bodied parents speaking on behalf of their children with disabilities. Raising a child with a disability and living in a disabled body in the world are two very different perspectives. Let’s make room for both.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much for your notes! A, that’s such a great point that we should make room for both perspectives. we have a week of outfits with a woman with a disability coming up, and i’m excited to share her story/style/etc with you and the CoJ community.

  7. Nicole Costello says...

    Oh this is just magic (sobbing). Thank you for sharing <3

    • Thank you!

    • Thank you!! I just love photographing my kids : )

  8. Krissy says...

    This was a wonderful post. Thank you!

  9. Carrie says...

    ❤️

  10. Ellen says...

    As a longtime COJ reader, I remember searching its archives for stories on Down syndrome when we received our prenatal diagnosis two years ago. There weren’t any then but I’m delighted that other moms in my position may find this one. And if you’re reading the comments, dear mama, please know that your journey may be different from what you planned but—if it’s anything like ours—so much more beautiful than you could’ve imagined.

    • I am so, so glad you found this one : ) And you’re right…it’s already been the most amazing journey I could have hoped for!

  11. Susanna says...

    This is an absolutely beautiful post! Thank you, Katie, for sharing your heart and life!

  12. I have twin boys who are 19 months old and one has a Down syndrome. Love your perspective at age 4! One the one hand the differences are starting g to be more noticeable now, but on the really important things like hugs and laughs and smiles and playing with their siblings, the differences aren’t as noticible, just -as you say – their individual personalities.

    • Oh 19 months!!! Such a fun age mama!

  13. Beth says...

    This was a gorgeous read and resonated loudly for me. I have twin girls, one with autism and the other neurotypical. They are the yin to the other’s yang. Individually they are each a miracle and marvel. Together they are powerful, brave, and unstoppable forces. What a gift to have a twin. I thank God everyday for them and giving them each other.

  14. Scout says...

    Thank you for sharing this honest and beautiful post. My brother has Down syndrome and he is the light of my life. It’s wonderful seeing these magical people on the pages of the everyday.

    • I couldn’t agree more : )

  15. Bernadette says...

    Oh my gosh Joanna!! I love Katie! I have been following her for about a year and she is one strong mama! She has been through so much and is so amazing(the loss of her first babe … broke my heart)! Thank you for featuring her she is a super mama – for sure!!!

    • Oh thank you Bernadette!!

  16. Sarah says...

    Thanks for this gorgeous post. So many times I find myself doing the comparing thing. My child needs sooooo much one on one attention. I joke that if the average child needs 12 hugs a day, mine needs 64!!!! Yes, as a mom, I have a role in her development and helping her function in society. But more than that, she needs me to accept her and love her exactly the way she is.

    • Vanessa says...

      One of my favorite sayings… People were put on earth to learn. Special needs people were put here to teach.

    • A says...

      @vanessa — unfortunately that point of view takes away the humanity of those with special needs (which is an outdated term to begin with).

      These disabled people are not simply teaching tools — that is reductive and reduces them to a limited role. They are people who also have their own wants, needs, skills and desires and they don’t exist simply to teach the able bodied.

      This article says it better than I could: https://everydayfeminism.com/2015/02/i-am-not-your-teachable-moment/

  17. RR says...

    This article should be titled “Comparison is the thief of joy”. What a lesson for us all regardless of the circumstances.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that was our working title!!! :) #brainmatch

    • K says...

      Ever since I read that phrase on this blog (I cant remember where), I wrote it on my phone’s notepad and say it aloud almost daily to remind myself of this truth. It’s been so helpful. Thank you to whoever wrote it!

    • It almost was!! Hahahh

  18. EH says...

    Wow, thank you for writing and sharing this. So good to hear how even differently-abled babes are gifts to the human race. I can’t imagine the challenge and suffering, but thanks for articulating the beauty and joy there also is.

  19. Courtney says...

    What a beautiful post. My first cousin is a teenager with Down Syndrome, and is a joy to everyone who knows him. Thank you for sharing your story and for inspiring the ensuing conversation here. <3

  20. AJ says...

    Beautiful writing, beautiful twins. Thanks so much for sharing :)

  21. Betsy says...

    I have twins too — identical boys that will be two this summer. This post really touched my heart. Your kids are so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story x

  22. Ellen Feeney says...

    this is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.
    Your message will stay with me forever.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences and your thoughts.
    What a wonderful family you have.

    • Thank you so, so much.

  23. Elspeth says...

    What a joy this was to read!

  24. Sydney Royes says...

    Thank you for this lovely post with such beautiful writing…

  25. Mary says...

    This is the best post I’ve ever read on this blog. Your family is a shining light. My 3rd child was born a year ago at 24 weeks gestation. It was very scary, and the road has been rough this year, but now I see so clearly how all children are gifts. God bless you!

    • Thank you so much for reading!

  26. TJ says...

    Katie, thanks for the reminder that there is so much good and love and beauty in the world. Those littles are lucky to have you as their mom.

  27. Annika says...

    Your children are just beautiful! I read Cup of Jo everyday but never post a comment. But I loved this too much not to tell you so!

    • Thank you!!

  28. I am crying so hard right now. What an absolutely lovely post. Thank you for sharing this heart warming story.

    • Thank you!!

  29. Diana McNeill says...

    wiping…away…tears… <3

  30. Melissa says...

    Like so many commenters have already said: This was so beautiful. I just loved this post and the pictures of the sweet kiddos make it even better. I actually had never thought about the possibility that one twin could have Down Syndrome while the other did not, so I’ve learned something today. Momma, this is a wonderful outlook on how their situation helps each other grow stronger in different ways. Thank you for sharing!!!

  31. stephanie says...

    So beautiful

  32. Amanda says...

    This was so honest and loving; your children are very fortunate to have you as a mom, and have each other. Now if only I could stop crying at my desk thanks to the overwhelming glimpse into humanity through this story and the beautiful comments…

    • Ann says...

      You express my thoughts beautifully. Parenting is just this special every time. Takes the wonder of it to really sink in and pure joy to experience. Glad I stopped on this story.

  33. susanne says...

    thank you for this really beautiful piece of writing!
    my second daughter has Down syndrome, too. And yes, it can be f..ing hard sometimes but she brought so much joy and love into our family, I feel truly blessed.

    • You said it mama, it can be really tough. But I’ve learned so much in my very short time of being a mom, that I think my best growing has happened on my hardest days : )

  34. Gayle Wilson says...

    Katie, thank you for sharing your story. What a beautiful testament to the love that a special needs child brings to our awareness. Our five year old grandson is special needs, nonverbal, and autistic. However, the love he communicates to not only our family, but to others is what makes the world a better place.

  35. Erin says...

    Thank you for sharing! I’m 32 weeks pregnant with boy/girl twins and our little man has DS. I love hearing these stories. It’s so reassuring as we approach the day that we will meet our little individuals. Lots of love to your family!

    • Congratulations!!! I wish you so much happiness mama!

  36. Rebecca says...

    Katie, thank you for sharing your story and your family with us. I am the proud older sister of a man with Down syndrome. I find it virtually impossible to put into words the joy he has brought into my life or the importance of the lessons he’s taught me over the years. What people with Downs lack in a high IQ, they make up for with emotional intelligence and an ability to appreciate the simple things in life that far outweigh that of their “typical” peers.

    My brother leads a rich and meaningful life. He works at Olive Garden as their bread stick-making expert; is an annual Gold medalist in the butterfly at the Special Olympics; and has created his own business doing paperwork (complete with his own business cards). We have very different personalities, but he is the person who has molded my life and pushes me to be the best version of me that I can. Both of your children will have challenges and triumphs, wins and losses, but it will be such a blessing for them to walk through life alongside one another.

  37. Molly says...

    Beautiful post. Absolutely beautiful.

  38. Nina says...

    A total gift reading this today as I have two kids (although not twins). One with chronic disease and the other who does not. A wonderful reminder that they can support each other in different ways and allow for celebration in their unique endeavors. Thank you and big hugs.

  39. Danielle says...

    Katie,
    I have enjoyed watching your beautiful family grow over the last couple of years! My 3 year old daughter had Down syndrome as well. Down syndrome has brought the best parts of my life into existence – friends, compassion, ASL, advocacy. And watching her with my 4 year old daughter? Two very similar but also very unique little souls. Pure bliss. I wish I could have skipped over all those emotions I had in the beginning.. . but I’d do it all again to get here.

    • Isn’t that the truth – I would do it all again in a heart beat, too.

  40. Kari says...

    Thank you for this post.

  41. Kate says...

    What a gift you give us, sharing this experience. Thank you. You have gorgeous kids and they have a fantastic mother.

  42. Dee says...

    My beloved daughter is disabled, and what a journey it has been! She is the true and deep love story of my life. Since I had her relatively young, my greatest wish is that we get to be old ladies together in the nursing home, eating lots of cake, taking long bubble baths, and thinking about what we’re going to do next for fun. I think nothing could be sweeter. A long and happy, healthy life is all I wish for her. Yes, her disability has been hard. She has autism, increasing blindness and incontinence. But she can do so much more than doctors said she would, and every achievement has been a source of deep joy and pride for me. These days her favourite pastimes are memorising tracts of spongebob, teaching herself new tunes on the piano, and we are excited that she will soon start horse riding lessons. I tell you, I might fix her blindness if I could, but I wouldn’t change a single other iota of who my girl is.

  43. Mish says...

    Beautiful <3

  44. Mary says...

    Beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your story! ❤️

  45. jeannie says...

    This is so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Siblings can be the best thing every for one another!

  46. Jac says...

    Kenzie should be a model! She’s beautiful! She looks like a little Swedish sprite. 😍

  47. Cynthia says...

    Such a beautiful post!

  48. Janik says...

    What a extraordinary post! Thanks a lot!

  49. Claudia says...

    Simply beautiful. Thanks for sharing this story.

  50. Nicole says...

    As someone who works in special education, this speaks to as a testament to inclusive practices. I hope that readers are inspired to champion and seek out schools who prioritize inclusive practices (not just schools with high test scores), acknowledging that diversity comes in many areas and people with special needs have so much to give.

    • Hannah says...

      Thank you for your work and for this perspective! Recently, a friend of us challenged us to think about our school choices from a family values perspective – that if we value our community and have made a commitment to inclusiveness and diversity, to seek that out in our child’s education and to bring our perspective and experience to his school environment in a whole-hearted way. Your comment is another timely and valuable reminder.

    • Yes!! That is such an amazing point – we have the twins attend an inclusive daycare and the kindness and positivity that is taught there is beyond compare!

  51. Rachel says...

    This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story!

  52. Beth says...

    I also have 3 year old twins and one has special needs. We didn’t know during the pregnancy and it has been a different journey than we were expecting. I think of them more as siblings than twins because it became exhausting comparing them. I am surrounded by friends with twins and I can’t relate to them because I feel like I am raising a one year old and a three year old that just happened to be born together. I know they will have a special bond like siblings and know they will have fun growing up together.

  53. Maya says...

    “Not ahead of her, but in celebration of her.” – this brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing way to think of siblings. I’ll keep it in mind when I watch my three cheer for each other.

  54. Carly says...

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Your children sound wonderful – I especially love the points about your son cheering on your daughter’s accomplishments. I’ve witnessed my 3 1/2 year old doing this when her younger brother is learning something, and it’s so special. Also, I haven’t experienced a disability in my family, and it is so helpful to hear stories like this and those in the comments, to help broaden my perspective. Thank you!

  55. Mercina says...

    ‘Now I finally see the truth: The universe gave me twins whose very differences make each other better.”

    What a beautiful, powerful sentiment. Thank you for sharing <3

    Strongly encourage those interested in similar stories to read Andrew Solomon's unparalleled *Far From the Tree*; I felt myself becoming more thoughtful and compassionate with every page.

    • I will absolutely take a read, thank you!

  56. Maura says...

    I can’t get over how much I love this post. I don’t have twins, and I don’t have a child with a disability, but this just captured something so honest about parenthood–I can’t quite explain it. It’s also beautifully written. Thanks for featuring such amazing women and stories, Cup of Jo team! And thanks, Katie, for sharing this.

    Man. It’s just so good.

    • Oh wow! Thank you!! Such kind words, it means so much!

  57. Jessica says...

    When I was 10, my little sister Haley was born with Downs Syndrome. She was my favorite sister, but it’s ok because she was everyone’s favorite sister, cousin, niece, friend, person they saw on the street, etc. Whenever she met someone new, she would always tell me they were her new best friend. She loved everyone, except this super nice lady who was her youth leader at church. Whenever she went to her house for an activity, she would complain and say, “Ugh. I hate that lady.” When Is go to pick her up, she’d say, “Oh good, you’re here. Let’s beat it.” It was hilarious because honestly this woman was the nicest person, and we were at a loss to explain why Haley loved everyone in the whole wide world except her.

    In addition to having Downs Syndrome, Haley was born with 3 holes in her heart and ended up dying while waiting for a heart and lung transplant at 13. The loss was overwhelming, and I still feel it almost 20 years later, but I love remembering her and her hilarious self. I love seeing other kids with Downs Syndrome out in the world doing their thing, so thanks for this post!

    P.S. I read about this company in MA called Colletey’s Cookies, founded and run by a young woman with Downs Syndrome. Apparently she couldn’t get a job, so she created one for herself and hires others with disabilities too. I ordered some of her cookies, and they were really good. Anyway, just putting the word out there!

    • Awadsie says...

      Thank you for sharing your sister’s story. It’s beautiful and now i’m a teary mess. I have a Downs kid in my life and he is everyone’s favorite, too! May your sister’s memory be a blessing to you.
      xoxo

    • Nina says...

      I am so sorry for your loss. Sounds like she was an amazing person have in your life.

    • Joie says...

      “I love remembering her.” I just love that sentiment and how your expressed it. Thanks for sharing your memories with us; has brightened my day.

    • Dana says...

      This is so beautiful. I love how she loved everyone (except the youth leader!). What a great example. I am so sorry for your loss, and so grateful you knew her.

  58. Jenna Malouf says...

    such a wonderful article. thank you !

  59. liz says...

    beautiful post (and babies <3) – thanks for sharing

  60. jillian bedell says...

    I was fine until, “The universe gave me twins whose very differences make each other better.” and now I am weeping at my desk.

    • Marisol says...

      Same!!!!

    • Lauren says...

      What a perfectly beautiful thought. Oh the chills! Such a lovely, little family.

  61. Nina says...

    That must have been hard to see the comparison. Your children are beautiful.

  62. Kelli M Schneider says...

    This makes me feel so so good. In a world that often feels so upside down and scary, it is just so heartening to witness such love and light.

  63. Many thanks for sharing the beautiful and touching story.
    Katie, you are amazing. You were able to transform the tough experience of having a child with down syndrome into your family’s strength, as Kenzie is happily growing together with her brother, Wally learnt to be compassionate thanks to Kenzie, and the whole family and friends celebrate on Kenzie’s healthy development.

    I have an autistic brother-in-law (my husband’s younger brother), and my mother-in-law says that raising a child with special needs is the most difficult task in the world. I couldn’t agree with her more.

    So many people with down syndrome lead quality lives, and I believe that a bright future lies ahead of Kenzie.

    Lastly, I cannot help mentioning a famous Japanese lady Aya Iwamoto, the first woman with down syndrome who graduated from collage. She has made a number of books in public, and the latest one was published in 2018. This is her website:
    https://www.mct.ne.jp/users/ayaiwamo7/index.htm
    She is now over 40, and actively advocates for lives of fetus with down syndrome. Her speech in Japanese is almost perfect in this video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whfR6FJjtVs

  64. candace ford says...

    I spent a large portion of my working life as a teacher in public school special needs classrooms. It was a challenge – coping with the children was the easy part – so many sad parents who wanted their children to look, act and be “normal” but many many parents who saw the potential in their children. What I really hated about the job was the other teachers, administrators, members of the public and even some of my friends who thought I walked on water because I was “willing” to do this job. I wasn’t just willing, I loved the job and the kids and the people who also loved them.

  65. Liz says...

    All of the tears. My youngest is only 6 months and this makes me want another baby all over again. It’s so hard not to feel like you are doing it wrong everyday…

    • Audrey says...

      Yes! Me too! My son is three and has multiple medical issues and autism… I don’t ever feel like I go to bed feeling like I’ve been a good mom….

  66. Dara says...

    Lucky, lucky kiddos! Katie, I love that you wrote about the fear and worry you felt, along with the joy and pride. It’s so important for new parents of babies with Down syndrome to know IT’S OK to have a wide range of emotions! It doesn’t make them ‘bad’ parents to feel or express doubt or sadness. My ‘baby’ with Ds just turned 18 and graduated from high school– yowza, time flies! He is awesome and annoying and smart and stubborn— JUST LIKE his 16 yr old sister…hmm.. :)
    I can’t wait for this next new chapter in his life to unfold— I am counting on being surprised and amazed every single day. Enjoy the ride with your gorgeous twins!

  67. Sarah says...

    I am the twin of a sister with special needs, and I think my mom would love this post so much. parenting a child with special needs that is the same age as another one of your children or growing up with a special needs sibling your same age is so unique, and I rarely see a shared experience like this. the aching love I feel in reading this for both Wally and Kenzie, in different ways, is hard to describe. how fortunate they both are to have each other and such a thoughtful and empowering mama <3

    • Thank you for reaching out, and I hope your mom can read it, too!

  68. Lucy says...

    Katie, thank you for sharing. I have twin five-year-old girls and one has low muscle tone. She hit all her physical milestones later than her sister (and still does), which was much harder on us than it was on her. The desire to compare is hard to silence. But she is the kindest, most compassionate child I have ever met, and is her sister’s biggest supporter. Like your Kenzie, she is always teaching us how to love gracefully. It turns out that sometimes the things we don’t anticipate are the things that make our world even bigger.

  69. ANDREA says...

    I had to laugh when you worried that your two children WOULDN’T fight. It puts perspective to our fear of the unknown and how irrational we can be when we worry the future. No parent knows what they will get or what will happen to their children in this world. I think that’s an important reminder.

    • Hahahha!! That’s so true, and they definitely fight!

  70. What a beautiful family

  71. Kathryn says...

    Thank you for sharing your story! Beautifully written as well.

  72. C says...

    This is really truly lovely. Katie, thank you for sharing your story and baring your soul with this community. COJ, thank you yet again for a meaningful, thought-provoking piece. xoxo

  73. Julie jones says...

    My twins are 16 now Hallie was first to make an appearance & Evan arrived 16 Mins later Evan was born with DS Hallie has been his teacher & continues to support his needs they are always there for each other & I’m proud to call them my twins lovely to read your story life is good x

    • Sarah says...

      What beautiful, bonded children.

  74. Karen says...

    I do not have any personal experience with Down Syndrome, and I so appreciate this beautifully written essay (and all the thoughtful comments) that give me a peek into that life–and the richness that different perspectives bring us all. Thank you, Katie, for sharing. Thanks, CoJ, for making the space.

  75. Adel says...

    What a beautiful post

  76. Roxana says...

    Oh my heart! I cried reading this.

    I resonate with so much Katie shares. My youngest son, Ezra, is 2 1/2 and has Down syndrome. I cried for months after he was born. I grieved the person I thought he would/should be, and the future I thought was ahead of us. I don’t regret that grieving process, but I was so wrong on so many levels.

    I never could’ve imagined the depth of everything that he has brought to our lives. The grief. The joy. The challenges. The victories. The compassion. The perspective. The liberation. There have been so many blindly-held expectations and values about what it means to be a person, which Ezra has lovingly helped our whole family release from our white-knuckled grasp. Others have alluded to this, but Ezra (and other differently abled souls) are EXACTLY who they should be. We’re the ones who need to change.

    He and his “differences” are a gift from the One who made him. Just like we all are.

    I’d encouraging anyone reading to get involved with an organization that serves the differently abled (Best Buddies is a a fantastic program, but there are so many others). It is scary and awkward at first. For many of us, the special needs world is unknown. You think “but I can’t relate. . . that’s for other people.” Just do it! Face those fears! I promise you, you will not regret it. Your life will be deeply enriched. You think you’ll be doing something for “them” only to find that they’ll be doing something far, far greater for you.

    Joanna, and COJ, thank you from the bottom of my heart for this post!

  77. Kelly Griffith says...

    I have a 6 year old son with Down Syndrome who is the most amazing boy. He has surpassed every expectation I had of him already. I love the notion that we should just expect them to reach these milestones instead of getting surprised and overly excited when they do. Thank you for this lovely essay.

  78. nicola says...

    I never post but thank you for sharing this wonderful piece. This is why I read Cup of Jo. Your children are very lucky to have you and each other.

  79. Ali says...

    “The universe gave me twins whose very differences make each other better.” Mic. Drop.
    Katie, thank you for sharing your hard won perspective. I am so inspired. Had a quick look at a couple of your blog posts too, you are a fabulous writer.

  80. Michelle says...

    Oh my goodness to their beautiful angelic faces full of light. You are all amazing!

  81. What beautiful babies you have, Katie! XXX

  82. Sarah says...

    What a lovely, lovely post- one of my favorites. Thank you for sharing your beautiful family, Katie!
    A friend of mine has 5 children (!) ranging from 8 years old to 12 months, and #4 has down syndrome. Tessa is the light of their lives, and as her mom recently pointed out, her siblings “don’t know she has down syndrome” . She is their sweet, funny and sassy sister. Such an obvious and yet refreshing thought.
    Where would we be without the perspective of our kids?

  83. Camille says...

    Thank you Cup of Jo <3

  84. Maria says...

    Hi Katie,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I note you mentioned about exaggerating Kenzie’s accomplishments, and to Wally that may feel like his accomplishments are less important. My brother has a learning disability, nothing severe or impairing by any standards. We are very close in age, and my family (especially on my mum’s side) has always made a point of trying to compensate the differences we presented. I have always worked very hard (taking on more than my peers), and their reaction was always somewhat lukewarm (“we knew you could do it, but have you heard about what so and so said about your brother?”). Similarly, my inevitable failures were received with relief and no empathy (“it’s good that you learn how it feels to struggle” – when in fact most of my accomplishments were the result of hard work). As an adult, I struggled with self esteem for many years and now barely share any of my struggles or accomplishments with my mum, and my brother is very anxious as he has been constantly expected to do just well enough to make up for his difficulties. I know it’s natural to try and equalise your children (“I love all my children the same”), but maybe the best way to do it is to celebrate the accomplishments of both equally passionately. I hope this doesn’t come across as an attack (it really isn’t intended as one), it does look like you’re doing a wonderful job!

  85. Hayley says...

    This is beautiful – beautiful story, beautifully written. Thank you!

  86. Aliki says...

    This is so beautiful! Thank you Katie! Your kiddos are adorable and they look so happy in those photos! I have an amazing autistic daughter and I can see so much of her and myself in your words. It’s wonderful to feel understood. Thanks again <3

  87. Paige says...

    This is so beautiful — thank you for sharing your story! My heart is full.

  88. agnes says...

    Such a good title, down syndrome is something more, not something else!

    • agnes says...

      not something “less”, sorry for the typo.

  89. agnes says...

    This photo is childhood in one picture! Your post is wonderful Katie, so honest and loving. Thank you for sharing and for cupofjo to show all the richness of our humanity.

  90. Kristy says...

    All. The. Tears! What beautiful kids you have and how lucky you are to have them in your lives.

  91. I’m glad that you wrote this. I’m multi-disabled and still struggle with the everyday annoyances of people thinking I’m “different”, or “can’t live life the same as anybody else”, or “me being happy and independent is an inspiration”.

    It’s cool that you wrote about this because by doing so, you run the risk of some idiot on the internet saying something negative.

    People need to hear this. They need to hear the story of your beautiful little girl and how she exceeded your expectations and will continue to with everyone else as well.

  92. Bonnie says...

    Thank you for this beautiful post!

  93. Kay says...

    Thank you for a beautiful post,

  94. Lauren says...

    This is such a lovely piece. What a great reminder of how the differences between two individuals can complement each other to create a truly beautiful relationship.

  95. Geysil Arroyo says...

    What a lovely post. Thank you

  96. Ana says...

    My youngest, Martin, has Williams Syndrome, and the best therapy for me when I feel low is seeing how other families cope with it. I’m still in the process of seeing the positive things more than the negative ones, but I’m on my way. Thanks a lot to CoJ for the beautiful posts about children with special needs. Then are really helpful.

    • Anna says...

      Just replying to say I grew up with a dear family friend with Williams. We’re now both almost 30. She’s been a lifelong friend, and I feel fortunate to have her quirky, funny spirit in my life.

    • Jessica says...

      My youngest son, Thomas, also has Williams syndrome. (The odds are 1 in 10,000 readers!) I agree, sharing your experiences with other parents truly helps you process this unique path of parenthood. Cheers to you and your remarkable son! Our son just tuned 12 months old and it has been such a ride this year!!

    • Suzanne says...

      Back in college I got to know a man with Williams who has a job on campus and hung out with us in the marching band. He had a beautiful, loving, pure soul and was beloved by everyone who met him. I’m sure his parents had their struggles and anxieties raising him, but when I knew him he had a job, loved life, and was surrounded by people who loved him back. He passed away as a young adult, but Google “Super Dave Stanford” to see the positive impact he left in his community. I will never forget him and the light and humor he brought to the lives of many. (He was also the best freestyle rapper I’ve ever seen!)

      Anyone else in the comments here remember Super Dave??? ♥️

  97. Emma says...

    This is so beautiful and helped me so much. Thank you!

  98. J. says...

    Katie, thank you so much for sharing this story so gorgeously and honestly. I admire to the ends of the earth your vulnerability in sharing your true feelings, and smile (in joyful tears!) at the beauty of your family and the ocean of love in which you are all swimming. Reading this was the highlight of my day.

    One of the greatest honors and gifts of my life is that my sister and I grew up alongside twins much like Wally & Kenzie– some of our closest family friends are twin girls, one of whom has Down Syndrome, one of whom does not. From before I can remember–for every birthday party, Christmas pageant, Easter Sunday, swim team practice, summer camp and major life event–we shared everything with them.

    As little kids (~4-6), we were all fiercely protective of one another and also SO loudly excited and proud to have a friend who was unique. Our favorite friendly ‘trick’ was, upon meeting new kids (at a playground or camp), to ask them to guess who the oldest of us was — in our minds, this was hysterically funny to all four of us because no one ever guessed correctly (mostly because this is the age at which whoever is taller is automatically older). We would happily, gleefully explain that actually even though she is a bit shorter, SHE is the oldest! Can you believe it! (by a whopping 2 minutes from her twin and a handful of months for others). It never occurred to us, genuinely, that her difference was anything other than the same differences we all had in hair color or how bendy our fingers were or how quickly each of us got sunburned.

    Looking back, our friendship made for such a deep understanding of emotion at such a young age, and I can see to this day how this forever shaped me and am so grateful to her and to our friendship. To see an emotion, whether sorrow or joy, played out so purely and immediately on her face was to recognize how powerful and special it was to not hide your tears or your jubilation. To receive comfort from her was to see in real time the comfort and freedom and responsibility of being able to feel deeply for another and make them feel less alone in mirroring some of what they were feeling.

    As we all grew up together, I don’t recall there being a time where we stopped treating each other the way little kids do. All four of us bickered over rules of our made-up games and who would get best piece of birthday cake (always the corner!!! or the one with the flowers!) and choreographed dances to the Spice Girls together and got excited to pick out birthday and Christmas presents for the other ones and got in trouble with our parents for spilling a few too many drinks for it to have been sheer clumsiness at restaurants and giggled uncontrollably in moments we should’ve been quiet and didn’t cooperate during group pictures and had sleepovers and all the rest of it. The bond between the sisters is exactly the same as it is between any other friends of mine who are sisters and especially between those who are twins: the kind of magic that makes you think ‘what else could they have ever possibly been than to be each other’s each other?’

    Today, we’re all nearing 30. One twin is married and expecting her first child this year; the other has a job at a cafe, a boyfriend (who also has Down Syndrome), and was recently maid of honor at her sister’s wedding.

    Life is rich and beautiful, and though it is rarely what was expected, it is so often the kind of ‘I wish I had known then to wish for exactly this’ that you describe in this wonderful piece.

    Thank you Joanna for sharing this kind of good with so many every day, and thank you Katie for this beautiful story. I can only smile thinking about all the many, many friends that Wally and Kenzie will make as they grow, and am thankful in advance for the lifelong friendships and the gifts they will all give one another throughout life as I have been lucky enough to receive in mine.

  99. Sarah says...

    Just read more about Katie’s life and discovered the story of her son Lochlan who passed away before these twins were born. She seems to be overflowing with gratitude in spite of having had some very hard experiences. What a beautiful spirit! I am so afraid of the unknown hard experiences in my future… it is heartening to see people living with the pain but also having joy and gratitude along with it.

  100. mama of twin girls says...

    Ditto! Beautiful story and it’s only just beginning!

  101. J Alexander says...

    Thank you for this post. So beautiful. Just loved reading about these sweet beautiful babies and their Mama’s love for them.

  102. A says...

    Beautiful. I have a 19 Mo old w DS. I think I will always remember what Katie said about celebrating milestones. “Yeah girl we knew you could do it.” It’s all so raw to me right now – it brings tears. Thank you Katie.

  103. D. says...

    Both of your children are beautiful. And I’m not saying that to be politically correct. I think that Wally is classically handsome for a kid and Kenzie has an exotic beauty to her that most blonde little girls can’t ever achieve. And I love how their looks compliment the others.

    But beyond that, because beauty is only of small importance, I’m so happy to read your words because you truly are celebrating the differences, not making up for them. And that’s SO important. My son is autistic and my daughter is not. Though they’re not twins, I can’t help but compare them. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been when you had them growing up at the exact same time as the other! For us, I was so glad to have had that two year buffer.

    But still. I see my kids differences. And sometimes I wish my son were more typical – only to ease his way through life. But outside of that, I love how differently his mind works. He taught himself to read using my Apple Music App in his late 3rd year. His academic skills and analysis skills are through the roof! While my daughters social skills and inherent kindness and curiosity are unparalleled.

    And it heartens me to read of your kids friendship and bond. It’s going to be an extraordinary one , I can tell. And they’ll be better humans for it too! Isn’t it funny how the gifts we’re given come disguised as hardships sometimes?

    Also, try not to feel guilt for wishing it was easier. You will have those times, as you know. And it’s okay to still curse the universe for inflicting some real unfairness on Kenzie and on your family. Yes, it’s all wonderful, and you wouldn’t change it, but it’s also sometimes awful and unfair and it’s okay to feel that way without guilt.

    Sounds like you’re doing a great job so far. x

    Also,

  104. That’s me! I am 44 and my twin sister has Down’s Syndrome. She is the greatest gift to our family and has brought empathy, compassion and endless laughter into our lives. She still lives with my hero parents in Idaho.
    I continue to learn from her every day….and learn deeply about others watching the way they are around her….and how they change after meeting her. Holy cherub of a giggle she is.

  105. Allie says...

    I rarely comment but I felt so moved by this–thank you so much for sharing. I grew up with brothers who have visual disabilities, and seeing others doubt or judge or mock them was so painful. In an ableist world that sorts people and bodies and abilities in particular ways and accords them asymmetrical value, I loved this glimpse into a beautiful relationship. Such an important re-imagining of what the world can be. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  106. Carol Wynn says...

    What a beautiful story! It just warmed my heart

  107. Carolina says...

    Just beautiful ❤️

  108. Ashley says...

    So beautifully written, thank you for sharing Katie.

  109. Amy says...

    “Yeah girl, I knew you could do it.” That is everything. My brother and I are 15 month apart in age, but he was born deaf. Yes, there was speech therapy and lots of appointments, but mostly my mom treated us the same. She acknowledged the difficulty he had, but also told him this was his mountain to climb (and everyone has one). He attended deaf schools where he felt insulated from the “real” world and in the end chose to go to public high school (with me) and then onto college without any “special treatment.” He is now a teacher at a deaf school and working to change the message within the deaf community to “yeah kid, I knew you could do it. Let’s move onto the next one.”

  110. Kris says...

    When I was in high school, I was mortified to find out that my mother was pregnant (I actually knew people my own age who were accidentally pregnant) and even more devastated when I realized she was having twins, a boy and a girl, and the girl had down syndrome. Fast forward 21 years later- both twins are the most amazing and wonderful people and our family would not be complete without them. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. Even during hard times, know that you are blessed and so are they!

  111. Ashley says...

    ❤️❤️❤️

  112. Lisa says...

    Such a pure and beautiful post.

  113. LT says...

    Beautiful! I love the realization of your change in perspective. Thought provoking.

    • Martha says...

      Such a beautiful post ♥️

  114. Sarah says...

    I just read a book (Akata Witch, by Nnedi Okorafor) where the most powerful people in the magical world have features seen by those in the regular world as disabilities or defects. It is actually within those perceived deficits where power arises. Without minimizing the very real and sometimes overwhelming challenges that many people face, the message was inspiring and important. Your writing reminds me of this message: when we focus solely on disability, we run the risk of missing incredible ability, and both can exist simultaneously.

    • Roxana says...

      “when we focus solely on disability, we run the risk of missing incredible ability, and both can exist simultaneously.”

      So true! Thank you for this!

    • Amanda says...

      This book looks great! Just ordered it from my local independent kids bookstore – the Reading Bug!

  115. anon says...

    This couldn’t have come at a better time for me. My daughter, an only child, is (a high functioning, for lack of a better short term/descriptor) autistic. She’s about to go to high school. It’s been hard seeing all her peers, all my friends’ kids literally her age grow into such poised children. My child is beautiful, and she is pure light. But she has her delays in all ways that have widened the gap between her and her peers socially, emotionally, and academically. I’ve been struggling recently with all sorts of people posting their child’s graduation and accomplishments. It’s been hard, frankly speaking, and this article is exactly the salve and the reminder that I needed to soothe my aching heart. Thank you.

    • Hali says...

      I think pure light is an accurate and perfect descriptor. Pure light isn’t always easy to work with but it’s beautiful and absolutely necessary in our often dark world. Sending lots of love and joy filled pride for your daughter and yourself as she heads into high school!

    • kristin says...

      Love to you. My little guy who is 6 just got diagnosed this year. Its a hard place to be in where on the one hand your child can do most everything and pass off as “normal” and the disability is invisible to the naked eye. You often feel that you should be grateful its not this or that. It feels isolating because he looks just like another train obsessed, handsome little boy & people have no idea the challenges we have in every day life.

    • Tilly says...

      I hear you! Our son of 12 has the same diagnosis, and it feels like we are heading into more difficult territory, with a widening gap as you say. My hope is that life will become more manageable once we have helped him navigate his way through his teenage years, and that the gap might start to close again. All the best to you and your daughter!

      And, yes, Kristin, I know exactly what you mean! My son seems to put so much effort into keeping up appearances outside the home that life behind closed doors can often be pretty messy.

    • Laura C. says...

      @Kristin: Totally true!! My girl is 8 years old and she has Asperger’s Syndrome. I go nuts when some mom at school tells me things like “she is normal”, just because she doesn’t have mental retardation. Asperger’s is the invisible syndrome. Trying to do simple things with my girl like taking a shower or eating her dinner or getting dressed, is energy drainer. I feel you and I tell you, patient and love is the only way.

  116. My younger sister had Down Syndrome and I often get asked how I cope with her. For starters it’s all I have ever known and she is no different from my youngest sister, they both annoy me the same and I love them both the same! We’re now 24, 22 and 20 and we are super close despite Megan’s disability.
    Megan and I go on sister dates and to see movies (we are going to a concert in October which she is super excited about) and our relationship is no different than to that between my other sister and I.
    I look at Megan and I don’t see her disability, I see a young women who is doing her best despite what the world says about her and because of that she is impacting so many people.

    • Roxana says...

      Erin, this is great! I’m right there with you. My son is only 2 1/2 and has DS. When he was first born I could not see passed his DS characteristics. I only saw DS when I looked at him. Of course, this was absurd. DS is just a part of who he is.

      I often look at him and cannot see his DS characteristics, at all, even though they’re probably pretty visible. I just can’t tell anymore. He is just my little one. He is just a baby brother to his siblings. He is just a little dude with a spunky personality. He is just awesome.

  117. Kim says...

    Thank you.
    This was such a beautiful post.

  118. Nicole says...

    This is such a beautiful essay, Katie. Your children are so adorable (those names!), and what an amazing bond they have. It’s crazy how almost everything difficult about parenting can be erased by watching your children play together. How does the heart even withstand it?

  119. Another Mother of Twins says...

    This is lovely, on so many levels.

  120. Hali says...

    I teared up reading about how Kenzie’s brother celebrates her triumphs and knows what she is thinking without verbal communication. That is SUCH a special thing.

    My husband’s little sister is non-verbal and has downs syndrome. Watching her grow from the little girl she was when we first met into a young woman in her 20s has been nothing short of humbling. His sister is the light in her family’s darkest times, she’s so observant and completely in-tune to everyone’s emotions, and she is the glue that keeps his family together. I credit my husband’s enduring patience and signature laid back mood to her. She taught him to be comfortable when thrown into any social situation (can you imagine?) but sharp with insight about a person’s moral character. She will always have inside jokes with her brother that I’ll happily never understand and she will always be his favorite dance partner. They and their siblings have a way of communicating that I’m only just able to crack into (with pride!) after being around for 10 years. It’s a glance, a way of laughing, a song, a gesture… It’s seriously incredible.

    Not to make light of something that is so serious, challenging, and often heartbreaking, but I can’t imagine a greater influence on my husband’s life than his little sister.

    Katie, you’re such a brilliant mom! You’re life surely has a saturation and richness to it that most people can only dream of. I have so much admiration for how truly you see your children. I hope all of Wally’s friends rally around Kenzie with love and support the way I see in my husband’s childhood photos (birthdays, video games, barefoot on the street…) with his sister, and vice versa! There is so much love to be shared!

  121. Nicole H says...

    This is so beautiful. We all need one another. Your children are lucky to have you and you to have them.

  122. Laura says...

    i have identical twin girls. one was born with some non-genetic limb differences (missing from her elbow down on one arm, and a leg-length discrepancy as well as some other health issues). they just turned 20 and it has been the best watching them grow up together—-with each other, they are both exactly who they should be, and they are best friends. it is funny to watch other people’s reactions sometimes, though—because they are identical (as in, their faces look the same and genetically they are identical), but then……….also, not.

  123. Jennifer says...

    Such a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing your family’s story, Katie. What a fabulous mama you are. I’m tearing up at work reading this now.

  124. Emily says...

    Tears in my eyes reading this essay. What a beautiful mother to lovely children. Our 19-year old daughter has autism, and she continues to teach my husband and I and our boys things we otherwise probably would not have learned about compassion and what matters most. I know her two brothers would be very different people without her in their lives, and I’m so grateful she’s part of our family.

  125. Chrissie says...

    God, they’re beautiful. Thank you for sharing your family with us!!

  126. Devora says...

    I rarely, rarely post but I feel compelled to say wow, thank you for sharing a glimpse of this incredible family. Katie, you sound like an incredible mom!!! Wishing you and your husband so much joy from both of your twins always!

  127. Kelly says...

    This was beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

  128. Annie says...

    This is the loveliest thing I’ve read in a long, long time. Thank you for sharing with us.

    • Well you have me in tears. Thank you!

    • Katherine says...

      Yes. It touched my heart!

  129. Susan says...

    The look on Kenzie’s face in the picture with the chocolate cake! Has had me smiling all day.

  130. Leah says...

    My uncle with Down syndrome passed away last week. My father was five years older than him, cared for him heavily while they were growing up (large family) and was his guardian in adulthood. My dad is one of the most compassionate, kind, caring, loving and responsible people I have ever known and I realize as an adult how much he was shaped by having a special needs brother. My uncle brought not only joy but meaning and purpose to countless lives. I read so much about how devastated parents are when they find out their child won’t be what they expected. As a culture, we need more voices like yours telling about the brightness, beauty, and love that these precious people bring to our world. Thank you for this!

    • freya says...

      you dad sounds amazing. so sorry for your family’s loss.

    • Heidi says...

      Ditto!

  131. This is so sweet!! Took me ages to get past that CUTE cake photo! Your children are so beautiful and look at Kenzie’s lovely face — what a gorgeous girl! Such a heartwarming piece and yes, your kids are so fortunate to have each other in this world. Thank you for sharing!

  132. Margaret Kay says...

    I really liked this post. It is a story about life, love and parenting. We just never know what is going to happen and how we are going to handle it. This is beautiful. Thank you.

  133. Lena says...

    Absolutely beautiful and heartwarming. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing.

  134. Illana says...

    This is so moving and important and inspiring. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Kelly says...

      Yes. I have fraternal twins; she’s typical, he’s got microcephaly and is developmentally delayed. When the twins were 22 mo, their surprise younger brother came into the scene, also typical. Watching my son fall behind his sister and even his younger brother is heart breaking, but being born with two friends he will never lose makes me so happy. The three of them are thick as thieves and don’t even notice that one of them doesn’t play like the others. They still share the same jokes and bring endless light to our corner of the world.

  135. Lais says...

    You kis are so so so lovely. Thanks for sharing the story of their beautiful bond and the lessons you learned along the way. You guys sound like a wonderful loving family. I have a twin sister too and she did most things before me. She crawled, walked, talked, learned how to ride a bike and a bunch of other things before I could. My parents like all others always compared. They later realized speed meant nothing. Extra chromossome or not, we are all unique individuals and because of that, there is no such thing as being behind or late, just different paths towards developing into ourselves. How magical is that? <3

    • lana says...

      Beautifully stated.

    • Oh, this is perfect Lais. Thank you so much for reading.

  136. Janice O'Kane says...

    This post is so sweet and beautiful it made me cry. Thank you Katie, and Cup of Jo, for sharing your story.

  137. Arliss says...

    What a wonderful story. My youngest son is four and has Down Syndrome. He has the additional challenge of having spent his first two years in an orphanage in China. He is making amazing progress all the time, and he has a ridiculous number of fans at school, church and play groups. He is the most empathetic child I’ve ever met; he quickly senses when anyone is upset, and gives them a consoling arm rub. Watching him blossom is one of the biggest privileges of my life.

  138. Sarah says...

    What a lucky family.

  139. t says...

    Beautiful, beautiful story and children. I have twins and anyone who can declare parenting twins during infancy as “bliss” is exponentially stronger than I. How fortunate these two are to have you as their mama and to have each other.

    Also that cake photo… so wonderful.

  140. Mary Glenn says...

    Gorgeous post!

  141. Sasha L says...

    Gosh they are so cute! What a treat on a Monday to see those sweet faces. How lucky they are to have each other, and such a wise and loving mother as well.

    So many times things just aren’t what we expect, right? So many times there are joyful surprises where we least expect them.

    • That is so absolutely true. This is has been my most joyful surprise of my life : )

  142. LS says...

    Beautiful story and family.

    But also that first pic really makes me want some chocolate cake. That side-eye from Kenzie — girlfriend, I’ve been there!

    • Hahahah!!! haven’t we all!

  143. Jess says...

    Such a beautiful, touching post Katie. And how CUTE are your children?!
    Reminds me of a similar sentiment Ashton Kutcher has spoken about having a twin brother born with cerebral palsy. Everyone has their own extraordinary gifts to share.

  144. Maggie says...

    Beautiful writing Katie! Thanks for sharing how your perspective has shifted through the years. This stands your gorgeous children is good stead :)

  145. Ramona says...

    Beautiful children. Beautiful Mama. I love their names! Our 15 yr old grandson has autism and I know all about reaching those milestones. God Bless Your Family. <3

  146. Julie says...

    My favorite Cup of Jo post ever!

    • Another Mother of Twins says...

      I think it’s mine, too.

    • Oh wow! Thank you!!

  147. Bonnie says...

    Because I have one biological child with down syndrome and two adopted I come from a different perspective and think that you were very blessed and lucky. But, having the one biological child I know the beginning of fear and anger at how this happened. But as you said nothing but blessings have come our way. My daughter had three brothers two older and two younger. They kept her going and my younger two were twins and she always knew what they were talking about and they always knew what she was talking about.You will experience difficulties and blessings as you would with any child. Thank you for this beautiful story.