God handselected this girl for me. She’s beautiful, fierce, loving, goofy, smart, cute, empathetic, caring, and my greatest teacher to date. She has taught me more lessons in life, than any wise book collection ever can.

Seventeen years ago I was trapped in society’s hamster wheel, not really thinking outside the box, and always trying hard to living it up to other people’s expectations. Fitting in at all costs was my credo, being mainstream and never sticking out.

When Juliana was born, I immediately loved my baby girl, but I hated her diagnosis. In fact, I felt intense shame of it. I worried so much about „What will my coworkers think about her? My fellow students? My old classmates? Our neighbors? The grocery staff? I was convinced that every time people looked curiously in the buggy, they only saw the label „down syndrome“, and not the cute baby girl.

The more my love for this sweet baby girl grew, the more I understood that she was not the problem, but society was. I understood that until I had met her, I used to think that in order to be liked and approved of by those around me, I had to behave, dress and live my life in a certain way. I was ignoring my inner voice, my inner calling.

Juliana taught me to think outside the box. To see the good in people first. To look at them with my heart first, and my eyes second. Juliana and I have been wearing matching clothes ever she was a little baby. It was my way of proudly telling the world „We belong together!“

Happy Birthday, my sweet girl! Here’s to seventeen years of wonder, magic, unconditional love and matching outfits, ha! You inspire me every day in every way.

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