I read articles about children born earlier in the 20th century (seriously...that wasn't THAT long ago) who were institutionalized immediately following their birth. Parents who were made to believe that having a child with Down Syndrome was a punishment from God for wrongdoing's of the past. Encouraged to forget about the past 9+ months, they were told to pretend there never was a pregnancy or a child. "Move on with YOUR life..." The life of the child never acknowledged as they were taken to a home for other "mistakes."
Mallory was born in 1989. I was 6 1/2. We had no clue that anything was different while my mom was pregnant. I don't know if that was by choice or if that was the OB's mistake, but my mom was never under the impression that Mallory would be any different from my older brother, Emmett, or me. I had asked for a sister as long as I can remember. My parents were actually in the middle of a separation and divorce that I was blissfully unaware of, but all the same...I was getting a baby sister!
I don't remember that day that my parents told us Mallory was different. Maybe because it was irrelevant to me, but I never looked at Mallory as anything but perfect. But I had to know. I have three daughters of my own now, and although they love each other fiercely, they argue and bicker the same - fiercely! Even as a small child, I never remember any emotion toward Mallory apart from adoration and the desire to protect her. I would go nose-to-nose with kids from school who used the "R-word" loooooong before there was a campaign to end it.
We lost our mom to a gut-wrenching battle with stage IV breast cancer the day after Mallory turned 20. Life can be so unfair. The only thing Mallory ever had to say about Mom being gone was on the day of her funeral, when she cried for the first and only time as we received guests after the service. "It's not FAIR!" was all she said as she crumbled onto the floor beside me. Her tears have always broken my heart, but this day was more than either of us could take. Before Mom was intubated in the hospital and could no longer talk, she asked me to take care of Mallory. "Of course I will..." was all I could muster, but I really had no idea what I meant. Although our biological dad had been long out of the picture, we had the greatest step-dad and knew he would take care of Mal as he always had. And he did. And I felt guilty.
What was I supposed to do? How much more could I do than what dad (step-dad) was already doing? Then it dawned on me. "Taking care" of someone with special needs isn't just making sure they have a place to sleep and food to eat. "Taking care" of them meant helping them "take care" of themselves.
Over the next (almost) 6 years, Mallory Paige Designs evolved. Our #1 priority is promoting the ABILITIES of those so many in society see as DIS-ABLED and unable to provide for themselves. We vehemently disagree with this notion and are on a mission to prove the value these individuals bring to the workplace and to society.
We chose the MUSTARD SEED design based on Matthew 17:20 where Jesus tells His disciples that faith as small as a mustard seed can actually MOVE MOUNTAINS. Our goal is to "move the mountain of stigma" for adults with special needs. We want to help our typically-abled friends and clients see what Down Syndrome (and other conditions) really is.
We start with jewelry, but the sky's the limit. Please visit our shop today and help us MOVE MOUNTAINS FOR ADULTS WITH DOWN SYNDROME!