Last night I had my class. I don't know how much I have talked about this class before, but the quick and dirty on it is that it is a group of 40 of us that meet bi weekly and talk with non-profits in the community about board openings. It is suppose to make us better leaders in the community. It is a fun group of people and I love the non-mommy/non-work time.
My class last night though was our volunteer ideas/class project time. Many of us had thought of ideas. I had sort of stolen one from W because I thought it was a great idea and sounded pretty easy to execute. It was Jeans for Gene Awareness on March 20. It should have been on 3/21 which is National Down Syndrome day, but since that is a Saturday, it doesn't work for the purposes we needed. My idea made the first cut, but not the second. So if I want it to happen, I will have to do it on my own.
Anyways, I keep getting off the point of this post. I ended up talking about O a lot last night didn't hurt that I got a text telling me O had bronchitis last night during class too). O is W's youngest daughter. When O was born it was a total shock to W and everyone around her that O has Down Syndrome. W went through all the screenings and everything came back clear. But that sucker punch to me was just that -- a shock and sucker punch, but not a knock you on your ass blow like it was for W and her family. I felt sad for W and her family that their dreams of a "perfect" family had evaporated overnight. Felt bad for the extra work they would have to deal with. Felt bad that she was dealing with any and all of it. I also worried that I would lose one of my best friends because we wouldn't have anything in common.
In retrospect, I was a total freaking idiot.
O -- she has always been and continues to be one of the cutest kids I have ever seen. Every picture of her that I can remember over the last 6 months to year shows this giant smile. R is smiley, but nothing like O. She is a doll and just so much fun (down to the open mouth kisses she gives). I love watching the boys and her sister play with her. They aren't always gentle, but they are not judgmental in the least and it warms to heart. I hope and pray that my kids will forever carry with them that different isn't wrong, just different.
Then as I was bragging about how well O is doing hitting all typical milestones and is just the light of everyones lives someone asked me a question that surprised me. It was asked "does she look like she has down syndrome?" (let me just note -- the question wasn't meant to be mean, I think the person was thinking that I was either wearing rose colored glasses or maybe O just had a "touch" of Down Syndrome or something - whatever the hell that means). I thought about it for a second and then responded... I have no idea. That is the truth. To me O looks like her dad and her sister -- sorry W -- maybe she will be like E and start to look more like you as she grows up. There are times when W will send me an old picture of E and my first thought is that it is O. I don't look at her and see anything but O -- a sweet, adorable little girl that you can't help but want to hold and hug and who can make you giggle in seconds with her antics.
And for that, I have to thank her. She taught me that different is just different, no more or less. I hope I can continue to carry that with me for the rest of my life too.