The two little girls, one in Sammi's class, one in the other Kindergarten class next door, saw us coming up the walk, and made it a point to come toward us, to join us, to hug Samantha and take her hand, to turn around and walk like that all the way to class. To say I thought my heart would just burst then and there is an understatement.
It was a fluke, really, that I even had my cell phone on me at all that morning. Not wanting to be burdened over the 100 yard trudge to the schoolyard, not expecting any 7:30am phone calls, there's just never any point to carrying it. As we were walking out the door, however, Samantha spied it sitting on the lamp table in the hall and asked me to bring it so I could take her picture. Another rare occurrence, and one you can bet I'm not likely to pass up.
While March is not Down Syndrome Awareness Month (that would be October), March 21st (3/21, as in three copies of the 21st chromosome) is Down Syndrome Awareness Day, and the message I would like people to start thinking about is epitomized so perfectly in this photo...
More Alike Than Different
It is, actually. But getting others, who are not in our esteemed circle of extra chromosomes, to realize that, too, is a bit more of a challenge, and one that I passively seek out (is that possible?) each and every day. Passively, meaning I have Sammi out and about doing very ordinary things all the time. I behave no differently towards her than I would towards any other child. I wear my pride and my love and my joy on my sleeve for all to see. Yet I am acutely aware of the impact we may be making in the minds of those people who may not have a connection to the Ds world, who may not know what our children are capable of, who may not have seen the light outside of dated stereotypes and misinformation, yet who may remember this, and may think differently of Down syndrome as a result.
It's a tall order, yet it takes absolutely no effort on our parts. How much simpler could it be?
Love your children. Enjoy your children. Let them sneak those beautiful almond eyes and tender hearts into the souls of everyone around them, let everyone see how much more alike they are than different.
(Necklace by Annie Reid at the House That Jade Built)