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Crazy days can’t stop crazy socks

Chances are, you are spending your day at home, as are millions of Americans today, trying to quell the enormous impact the coronavirus is making in our lives right now.

It is an emotional time for us all as we worry about our families and think of the vulnerable people who are at risk. It is depressing, no doubt, but it won’t stop me from celebrating one of my favorite days of the year, and consider this column to be your open invitation to celebrate with me.

March 21, or 3/21, is World Down Syndrome Day. It is always on that day, recognizing the three instead of two chromosome 21’s associated with Down syndrome. And, as I said, I am here to celebrate that extra chromosome.

“Baby Maddie,” my 10-year-old granddaughter, is blessed with that extra one, and that young girl has had the most significant impact on my life among anyone I have ever known.

Maddie sees the good and the beauty in everything and everyone. The only thing that makes her cry is when she sees your pain. She doesn’t judge people on their political views, the color of their skin, their gender, their religion or heritage. She sees and judges you and me on our words and actions. We all could learn a lot from this 10-year-old miracle of wisdom.

How do we celebrate her, along with all the vulnerable children?

We wear crazy socks! Mismatched, colorful, crazy socks, and, although on Saturday you will most likely be home “social distancing” from the world, don’t let that stop you. Put on your crazy socks. Have the whole family do it together. Take photos and post to Facebook on the Maddox’s Miracles page, under her post about March 21.

Do it for her, but also do it for everyone else who could use a little spirit-lifting on Saturday. Do it for everyone who is suffering through this pandemic either physically, emotionally, or financially.

Put a smile on their face, and Maddie’s too.

And don’t stop there. Have some fun with 3/21. The National Down Syndrome Society has several fun, family-friendly activities you can do on Saturday, like: Have a kitchen dance party or FaceTime dance-off at 3:21 p.m. Run as fast as you can on that basement treadmill for three minutes and 21 seconds. See how many push ups you can do in three minutes and 21 seconds. Take a family walk around your neighborhood and think of three to 21 people who could use a little help right now. Lift a household object 21 times, (a toaster weighs about three pounds). Play a game of soccer or basketball in the yard for 21 minutes. Be creative on this special day, and share it with everyone on social media.

I am sure you know children with Down syndrome and I am equally sure you know they can bring a smile to your face in seconds. Saturday, March 21, 2020 is their day. Make them smile for all the joy they have brought to you. Crazy socks and crazy games during these crazy times. Come on. You deserve it, they deserve it, and what better time to spread a little joy.

If you don’t know anyone with Down syndrome, then please do it for Maddox (Baby Maddie). She has been an activist for change since she was only 2 years old. Along with her mother, Jamie, they have done videos on Cafe Mom, been intimately involved with Changing the Face of Beauty, traveled across the country from Los Angeles to New York advocating for inclusion and acceptance. With a smile and compassion of an angel and an inner strength inherited from her mom, who understands what it is like to be disabled after being born with a profound hearing loss, Maddie is asking you to participate in celebrating March 21.

If wearing crazy socks for just one day allows me the chance to celebrate and spread a little joy in the world for just one day, then sign me up! Maddie is actually no different than you and me. We are all imperfect in some way, and we should all be so lucky if we had her ability to spread love the way she does.

Join us, won’t you? Even if it is for only three minutes and 21 seconds, have the entire family put on those crazy socks, and share to Maddox’s Miracle Facebook page. Make a difference on Saturday. God knows we could use one of Maddox’s smiles on everyone’s face right now.

You can also share your pictures of comments with me at gregawtry@awtry.com.

Greg Awtry is the former publisher of the Scottsbluff (Neb.) Star-Herald and Nebraska’s York News-Times. He is now retired and living in Hubbard Lake. Greg can be contacted at gregawtry@awtry.com.

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