“If there is hope in the future, there is literally power in the present.” Zig Ziglar
In honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Beyond the Waiting Room is featuring an incredible mom of four children. Clarice exemplifies hope as she cares for her growing family and manages the care of her fourth child, Summer Reign, born with Down syndrome.
Getting the News
Clarice had normal pregnancies and her fourth pregnancy was the same as her three older children. At the birth of each of her children, she was able to see them the moment they arrived. Summer’s delivery was different. “They weighed her and would not let me see her right away. After 20 minutes, they gave her to me and explained she had Down syndrome. I was sad at first until I took one look at Summer’s smiling face.”
At that moment Clarice knew they were going to be okay.
Sharing the News with Family
Summer arrived at the start of COVID-19 and the routine at home was a significant adjustment. Clarice and her husband Raynaldo, managed the arrival of a new sibling with special needs, supported virtual learning for their 8 year old daughter Skylar and cared for big brother, 3 year old Chayce. The couple’s oldest, Robert was a senior in high school preparing for college in the fall.
Their children adore their little sister with their whole heart. As the oldest, Robert knew his sister had special needs from the beginning.
Summer receives occupational, speech and physical therapy each week. Summer knows how to stand and crawl. She is learning how to walk. She says a few words and signs more, please and all done.
Skyler was curious and asked about the weekly visits from therapists. Clarice gently explained how therapists come to help Summer thrive in areas where there is a delay in development.
Chayce is Summer’s best friend and teacher. Her favorite time of the day is the morning and she wakes up with a smile. Each morning Summer crawls to Chayce’s room to get him out of bed. Chayce diligently supports her with stacking blocks and other gross motor activities.
“Family members love her anyway. My 87 grandma told me downs kids are the best and they all accept her.”
Clarice’s cousin, Shonta’, owner of Mahogany Essential Candles created a candle called Summer Reign and donated the proceeds to a local Down syndrome Foundation for almost a year.
Her family’s acceptance and love for Summer never waivers and is a huge support for Clarice and Raynaldo as they manage the needs of their family each day.
“Daddy is also her best friend and they have a special bond. When he comes home from work she crawls quickly to greet him and says Hey Dad!”
Hope for the Future
Clarice share’s Summer’s journey on Instagram to reveal how Summer thrives each day. She is excited about Summer’s future. She wants her to attend school with typical and special needs children. She will one day have a job and contribute to society. Clarice is committed to the annual Buddy Walk so that Summer understands she is not the only one with Down syndrome. There are other children just like her.
Clarice finds hope in other individuals with Down syndrome taking the world by storm and participating in Special Olympics, and Triathlons.
“There is no limit to what she can do and we will not set barriers for her.”