Eli Samuel Parker is an amazingly awesome 16-month-old whose only limits will be the ones he puts on himself. Eli was born with Down syndrome and an atrioventricular (AV) node canal heart defect. He had a complete AV canal repair at five months old, and he is doing great. He has an 11-year-old brother, Aaron, and a nine-year-old sister, Ruby. They both love and adore him. He takes physical, occupational and speech therapy and is doing well with them all. He is very strong willed! He is crawling, pulling up, cruising along furniture, picking up small pieces of food and feeding himself. He is making sll kinds of sounds and recognizes some signs. He refuses to sign himself. I expect the same out of Eli that I expect out of my other children. I expect them to do their very best at everything they do. He has already amazed me with all the things he can do, and he continues to amaze me. He is such a good kid. He hardly ever fuses and is always happy. He has a smile that lights up the room. His smile is contagious. He brings so much happiness to our lives and the lives of all who know him. Our family has experienced an indescribable joy because of Eli. He is such a blessing, and I am so thankful to be his mom. When I first received the news that my unborn child had a heart defect and disability, I was scared and worried. I worried about Eli’s health and how all this would affect my family. I wondered if we would ever be happy again. Then one day after we came home from the hospital, I was going to change his diaper and as I held him in my arms and patted his little bottom I said, “Eli I am so thankful God gave you to me. This journey so far has not been bad. It’s just been different. I’ve read books about raising children with Down syndrome and raising children with heart defects. The most important thing I’ve learned, I already knew. I just needed to be reminded. Just love him and treat like you do your other children. Sure he has special needs, but when you get down to it, we all do. There are no two of us alike, and neither are our needs. Eli has to work hard for things he accomplishes, and when he does it brings so much joy to us all. He is an inspiration. He may do things at a different pace than others, but he can and will do them. I look forward to seeing what he is able to do. For me there is no limit to what he can do. I am proud that he is my son and I love sharing him with the rest of the world.