Monday, October 10, 2016

Meet Benjamin: I Can...

For Down syndrome Awareness Month, my posts this week are featuring individuals with Down syndrome and their abilities. Today, I would like to welcome author Dana Hemminger as she shares about her son.

Meet Benjamin

Free To Be

Photo of Benjamin provided by his family

“Celebrate your son every day” were the wise words spoken to my husband and I from a dear friend during the first shaky weeks of our son Benjamin’s life. He was in the NICU, and we were trying to process his diagnosis of Down syndrome and multiple early health complications. That was over seven years ago, and my friend’s words continue to resonate within me. I have celebrated my sweet son and each new milestone that he has worked so hard to obtain. I have celebrated his smile, hugs, and contagious laughter. I have chosen to celebrate on the difficult days when grief over his delays and struggles tries to creep in. Overall, I have simply sought to enjoy my beautiful son.

As I contemplated what to write about Benjamin for this “I Can” series, I considered the different milestones I could highlight. I considered his daily activities and routines. However, I found my heart being pulled in a different direction. In honor of Down Syndrome Awareness month, I want to highlight and celebrate my son’s wonderful ability to be fully present in the moment and to be fully himself at all times. In his simplicity, Benjamin has no pretense. He is free to be himself and express himself in all places and with all people. He is able to experience the joy of the moment and to express his joy unhindered. He is able to delight in the simple things—a song, an embrace, a delicious meal (he loves to eat!), or spinning in circles until he gets dizzy, giggling all the way!

             We are all human be-ings, but in our society we seem to be more intent on the expectation to be human do-ings. When we meet a new person we don’t typically ask, “Who are you?” but “What do you do?” We find such identity in outward accomplishment instead of inward value. I value Benjamin for who he is, regardless of what he can do. There is much I can learn from my son and his profound simplicity. If only we were all more fully free to simply be!

Dana Hemminger lives with her husband Shawn and three amazing children Benjamin, Joelle, and Josiah in Northeast Oklahoma. She has authored two books: Reflections from Holland: A New Mother’s Journey with Down Syndrome and A Covenant Kiss, both available on You can follow her blog at

This post is for Down syndrome Awareness Month where bloggers write for all 31 days of October for Trisomy 21. During the month of October, the NDSS asks that we celebrate people with Down syndrome and make others aware of abilities and accomplishments. Individuals with Down syndrome have abilities that need to be celebrated!

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