Tonight I really felt it. The looks, the obvious stares in our direction, the wonder and the pity. I wanted to yell at them all, really give them something to stare at but I couldn't. I went about my normal business like I didn't notice them. I played peek-a-boo with Malachi and rubbed Eli's sweet head. I had a great conversation with my husband while we ate our dinner. Yet they couldn't keep their eyes off of us. I wondered if my hair was messed up or if I had something on my pants but I knew better. It would have been so easy to turn around and walk out, yet we chose to stay.
What are you looking at? Yes, I agree, my boys are adorable, but seriously people.
Oh wait, I know. Down syndrome. When we walk into a room all YOU notice is Down syndrome. Poor, poor people. What a sheltered life you lead.
Yes there are people with Down syndrome that live in your community, go to school with your kids, eat at your favorite restaurant and work at the grocery store. Do you feel sorry for them or their parents? Do you keep your children from interacting with them? Or do you stare, like you have never seen a person with almond shaped eyes and a line across their hand?
Perhaps, rather than stare, you should say hi. Comment on how cute they are or how well the play baseball. Maybe you should listen to their story, what they have had to overcome. Maybe then you wont like like a ghost when you see a person with Down syndrome walk into your location.
Maybe, just maybe you will allow yourself to fall in love with their innocence, humor and unwaivering love. Maybe then you wont stare out of ignorance but rather out of acceptance.
Monday, May 10, 2010
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As the mom of two obviously "special" kiddos, I know exactly the looks you are talking about. Some days it feels as if the circus has come to town. As time goes on, you will perfect your ignoring skills. When people give you that "oh, poor things, bless their hearts" your automatic come-back will be, "Don't feel sorry for them. They are doing great."
When I see a DS child, my heart melts. I know the blessing that the family has. I know the jewel they they have been blessed with. My older cousin, who is approaching 50, always has and will have a very special place in my heart. He is a precious DS jewel. They received this gift at a time they were told to put them in an institution. My aunt and uncle embraced this gift, and while life hasn't been easy, the joy they have experienced has far outweighed the "looks".
You are doing a fantastic job with your two angels. Malachi walking so soon after his stroke, Eli blossoming since his surgery... Hang in there. You know the blessing you have whether anyone else does or not. It's their loss.
Blessings to your family...
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