Thursday, June 21, 2012
Its good to be different.
When my son came home from school yesterday, he was starving as usual. When I told him he couldn't have cookies but could have an apple the look of defeat swelled in his eyes. These massive tears started to flow and he reached out to hug me , looking for solace in his collapsed world of cookiedom. Of course , I hugged him and told him that he couldn't have cookies ALL the time , and that today we were going to have fruit. He repeated "fruit " in this very sad voice. I told him the apple was sweet like a cookie. He perked up a little and repeated "cookie". I said " No baby , you can't have a cookie but you can have an apple" . "Ok", again the sad voice is there but not as sad this time as he reaches up to hug and kiss me and almost console me as much as I was him. We go and get the apple and he is so dang happy to show me that he is eating it like I asked him too.
In that moment, I realized something. In all of my son's identity , I try to shift his diagnosis of Down syndrome to the back of my mind. Not because I am ashamed, more so because as a family, we reject the idea that a persons disability tells you ALL that you need to know about them. However, that moment connected me and him with Down syndrome. I saw the slant of his eyes and the way his mouth gently opens when his face is relaxed. I heard him repeat the last words of what I said to him , knowing that he is understanding most of it but not always sure of how much, and being ok with that because who knows what everyone is thinking. I know for every stubborn bone in his body, that there is the intense eagerness to please. I held him tighter at the last thought... knowing that while that is such an amazing trait to have , this world is way to cruel for it, as well. A few tears fell from my eyes, more connected to the cruelty , then his disability. But I quickly went back to just adoring him for the moment.
We sat and smiled at each other as we ate our apple slices. He told me I did a "Good Job,mom". I told him he did one too, which made him quite proud of himself. He was really tired after his long day from school. So he and I turned on an episode of Martin (I'll have to do a blog post of the enormous savior that is the Martin show) and laughed together. Although, I was actually laughing at the fact that he knows every line and expression of his favorite comedian. His capacity for learning and loving are both so immense. It is the beauty of children, really. That extra chromosome adds a distinctiveness in that beauty. One that I will be sure to recognize more often then I have been.
Happy World Down Syndrome Day !!!!! http://www.worlddownsyndromeday.org/content/national-down-syndrome-congress-awareness-event.
While yes , the campaign by the NDSC is "We are more Alike, then Different" - I don't want to forget the beauty in diversity . It makes us who we are .