I was shopping for some clothes for the boys alongside a woman doing the same thing. But I needed long legs and skinny waists. She needed shorter and larger pants. We laughed as we handed each other the clothes we needed. I asked her how old her son is and she said, 25. I smiled and said, “I don’t think my guys will let me pick out anything including their clothes at that age!” She looked at me with a quiet smile and said, “My son has Down’s. So, I get the joy of buying his clothes for a really long time!”
We both stopped shopping and kept talking. I asked her what were the joys of having her son. Not that having any child isn’t full of joy (pain, exhaustion, frustration ….). But what special things did he bring to the table that her other child didn’t.? Here are her exquisite responses:
Often times I look in my son’s beautiful almond-shaped eyes and they just smile back at me. His laugh is so infectious that it melts my heart. When he was a kid, there was a cute gap between his toes and that was perfect for wearing his flip flops!
I had some bad days. I was heartbroken at first. But at some point I realized that this was our destiny and began to look forward to seeing him outside the womb.
I have more hope for him and his future than my other child. His potential to achieve and grow is so huge. And his thrill about anything (just life) – is more than anyone I know.
And a mother’s love – the same no matter what issues your child might have. So, I celebrate the differences rather than look for similarities. I think I’m the lucky one to have him, not the other way around.
Most importantly, my heart is softer. I accept people as they are. I’m not afraid of the homeless person on the street or the person shouting words out loud in a store. I know that we’re all different – I don’t just know, I appreciate that we’re all different.
Oh, and like meeting you — when you have a child with Down syndrome, new people come into your life. I have friends all across the country who have had experiences similar to mine. There are so many special people out there who are not afraid to ask questions and appreciate the different (but same) life experiences.
Friends, I’m not a lover of shopping for my guys, but I’ll take this kind of experience any day of the week. What an honor it was to meet and learn about the beauty of our differences. This is as good a time as any to celebrate love.
Have a great rest of your week.