Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Inspiration from my son Omar

My son Omar has Down syndrome.  He is eight years old.  He's an every day inspiration to me.  He wakes up full of energy and happy.  Very little gets him down...well, maybe when I take away the IPad, or make him eat veggies.  When you first have a kid like Omar, you don't really know what to dream or hope for them or their future lives.  Naturally, as a parent, you want them to be happy, healthy, and as self sufficient as possible.

When Omar was three, I joined a parks group for moms who had kids with Down syndrome.  We'd meet at a different Milwaukee county park every Friday morning for a couple of hours.  The kids would play.  The moms would chat.  It was a great way to see a lot of the parks in our area.  This went on for a couple of summers and we really enjoyed it.  In fact, we kept visiting parks long after the moms' group stopped meeting.  Omar found he had a great time playing and meeting people.  I enjoyed taking photos and hearing stories from the people we met along the way.  Some of you already know, it was this activity that inspired my first book, "101 Things to do in Milwaukee Parks", that was released last fall.

Last week, Omar inspired me again.  We dropped off some books at Boswell Book Company, a local book store where they are promoting my current book.  Omar likes to choose a book when we are there.  This time he found one of those level reader books about the movie, "Frozen".  We brought it home and saved it for bedtime.  Usually I read to him at bedtime, but we'd just had a parent teacher conference where we'd discussed how well Omar was starting to read.  I asked him to read to me this time.  Lo and behold, he did it!  I don't know who was more shocked, proud, and surprised- him or me?!  I have a new reader in the family!

I started looking for more books that Omar could possibly read, and came up with an idea to make some of our own.  There don't seem to be any children's books where the hero is a child like Omar.  Most books about Down syndrome are deficit based.  I wanted some books that could be shared with young readers like Omar.  So this week, Omar helped me choose some of our travel adventures to turn into children's books.

As I get them written, they will be available on my Amazon website.  I hope you'll check in and see what's there.  Each book is a paperback, about 25 pages, with color photos of Omar doing fun stuff in places we've been.  The first one, "Omar Meets the Sled Dogs", is about his adventures with the Door County Sled Dogs.  All the proceeds from the sale of this book will go to care for the sled dogs.  They are a great organization and I hope our little contribution will help them do more.

The first book in a series of Omar Adventures
So I'll end this by saying, you never know where your next inspiration will come from.  In many cases it's in a place you least expect.  I'm so glad for small miracles.  This blog posting is part of a special blog hop.  You can read more inspirational stories at the link below.


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