Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pure Joy

The title of this post is kind of cliche.  The word "joy" may be a bit over-used in the Down syndrome community when referring to our kids, but there's really no way around it.  Joy:  the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.

That's how she makes me feel.

And, lately, it seems she's had some sort of cognitive and developmental growth spurt, maturing rapidly, evidenced by new powers of observation, speech and language, and behavior.  Doing new things, holding cohesive conversations, reasoning...all so easy now.  Transitioning, something that had been the bane of my existence just a few years ago, is now a non-issue.  She shows me, more and more, the person she's becoming, the person she'll ultimately be, and I love it even more than I'd originally ever thought I would.  The young woman who will stand by my side, traveling, exploring, enjoying life and the world around us, is taking shape, cohesively forming before my eyes. 

On Sunday we went to visit a local woman and her gorgeous baby boy, who has Down syndrome.  To say Samantha was an angel is a gross understatement.  The beautific smile on her face at holding the baby, the care with which she held him, touched him, the sweetness with which she looked at him, made. my. heart. melt.  She loved every minute of the hour-long visit, beautiful, sweet, patient, a perfect little ambassador to a new mom to the fold, practicing her self-advocacy with the adeptness of a pro.  My heart sang.

Yesterday morning, at the crack of dawn, I took Samantha with me to vote, as she was off school, and Steve was working.  I expressed to her ahead of time the importance of what I needed to do, explained that we would likely have to wait in line for a while, that she needed to be patient.  I let her bring two books, and told her I'd have my cell phone if she wanted to look at the pictures and videos stored on it. 

The polling location was at her school, directly behind our house.  The line was long. 

The books and cell phone never left my satchel. 

She was awesome

And, in true Samantha style, she made friends with everyone around us, chatting up a storm, being silly (I had to explain to my fellow line-mates that contrary to appearances, I did not give my child coffee before we left the house), reading every sign posted on the walls in the hallway, finding one of her own class projects displayed on a board, and drawing grins and laughter from others waiting in line nearby.  "I can tell she's been reading for a long time," the woman behind me said as Samantha read the bathroom rules on the wall outside the girls' room.  I don't think the people around us saw Down syndrome.  I sure wasn't thinking about it.  And if that's what they did see first and foremost, I think minds were changed, preconceived notions and stereotypes removed.  I do think they saw a precocious 6-year old who loves her mother, who loves her life, who is smart, polite and funny.  

Because that's what she is.

And that's what I love, what equates to pure joy.             

15 comments:

Lisa said...

ambassador is a great word for it!

Leah said...

What amazing things your girl is doing. Heck, joy it is!

Erin said...

I really enjoyed this post (in a made me cry a little kind of way). At 5, Carrigain is still in the "difficulty with transitions" stage but I see glimmers of hope/progress. I am looking forward to seeing what the next year or two brings.

goldenleaves said...

Ah, this made me tear up! So basically Samantha was acting like...a 6 year old! An extremely well behaved one at that. Love!

Lacey said...

How sweet that she is growing and learning so much! Are you going to Denver to the convention next year? We are, so I'm trying to get all my friends to go to!
I know a lot of people hate when other people refer to our kidos as angels, or pure joy. And yes, its a stereotype, and Arina is Arina first, with her own wild personality. But there is definitely something about DS that just makes her more joyful! Same with Jax. Can't explain it, but its true!

Jess said...

What a great post. Thanks for sharing.

Deborah said...

Thanks for this post. Samantha is a great kid.

Chromosomally Enhanced said...

This is ooey gooey goodness! I love ambassador great word and so true...I cannot wait to continue to leaner, know and meet my Maddie...love the hope...smiles

Becca said...

Lacey - I'm hoping to make it to the convention, but will come on my own if I do. I couldn't get to any of the sessions with her in tow. :-(

Erin - I thought we'd never get out of the transition problems. Hang in there!!

Jenny said...

This was beautiful. It made me happy just reading it :)

Anna Theurer said...

Sammi is a rockstar! It sounds like she is just blossoming and really absorbing everything around her. Just wonderful!

Kimberly said...

Go, Samantha! I can only hope that my bear cub follows in her footsteps.

my family said...

love this:)

Molly said...

love it!

Out One Ear said...

Becca: Really enjoyed this blog. Joy isn't overused at all. It is the little milestones that we appreciate. Sometimes I was filled with so much joy when Lindsey did something new (or similar to the way other kids did them) that I thought I'd burst. This post was a trip down memory lane for me. Thank you. Your daughter is adorable!