Michelle, who is an entrepreneur and mom to four, including the adorably blond son above, wrote, “Littlest Warrior Apparel was inspired by my son Eli who is my biggest hero.”
Littlest Warrior Apparel is a clothing line on a mission to spread awareness, inclusion, and joy. What started as a small business to pay medical bills (Eli was born with Down syndrome and had his first surgery to unblock his intestines at 2 days old), has turned into a blooming + loving community.
Some of our favorite Littlest Warrior shirts include, “Chromosomally enhanced,” “Inclusion is the new cool,” and “Holland tour guide.”
“Eli is exactly who God wanted him to be and exactly what He knew our family needed,” Michelle shares. “I will never be the same and my 3 daughters will grow up to be kind and compassionate advocates and for that I am grateful. Eli is a gift that keeps on giving.”
So we caught up with Michelle recently and asked her to share one piece of advice for parents of children with Down syndrome or other different abilities. Her reply is a testament to the human experience, reminding all of us—no matter who we are—to be who we are.
She told us:
“When I got Eli’s diagnosis, one of the very first things I told myself was that I would never compare him to his typical peers. What I didn’t prepare myself for was comparing him to other kids his age with Down syndrome.
“Before I knew it he was falling seriously behind them. Several kids his age started walking right around 12 months, the age typical kids walk.
“He turned 3 in March and just recently took his first steps.
“Eli has taught me so many things, and one of them is that he is on his own timeline. It doesn’t matter what other kids are doing; he doesn’t care and neither should I. I need to focus on him and his strengths and celebrate all the little victories because he works so hard.
“We all have our individual strengths and weaknesses. Focus on the strengths and you’ll have so much more joy in your life.”