Into the lives of other people, and how they fit into my own grand scheme for Samantha's future.
Like a matchmaker of olden times (or lands far away), I've been scoping possible suitors. It started when she was a baby. Getting to know the parents of little boys with Down syndrome - are they a suitable family? Will she be happy? Supported? She has no siblings, so this is of particular importance to me. Weird, I know, as she's only 6, but I can only assume that this is a natural inclination for parents of children with intellectual disabilities? Maybe? (C'mon guys, don't leave me hanging. I'm sure I can't be the only one...) As she gets older, I am so much more comfortable with the idea that she'll be able to make those love matches for herself, with Mom and Dad keeping a close and watchful eye from a slight distance.
But my selfishness goes further than that. It's not just the match of possible future love and marriage that I get caught up in, but the matches of friendship. Of protection. Of school support. I keep a close eye on the little girls and boys in her grade who are good to her, who accept her as she is, who play with her unconditionally. I keep an even closer eye on the older kids, the ones a grade or two ahead of her who have already learned something about acceptance and find her adorable and make her the object of their attentions. Her reading buddy, C., in the 4th grade. Our neighbor, R., in the 3rd grade. Others.
I start to do the silent, mental math, using my fingers to count out the years...will they still be in the same middle school when Samantha gets there? Will they still be in the same high school? Will they be the ones to stave off bullies, to take my baby under their protective wings and provide acceptance? Will they set the example?
When I hear that one of them is moving away, my heart sinks.
Now who else is there...? I begin to watch carefully again, trying to identify the next Great Hope.
Yesterday, S., a little girl in the 2nd grade, the sweetest, kindest, most thoughtful child ever, sister to one of Samantha's classmates, gave Samantha a gift - a book, carefully stapled together along the side, written and painstakingly illustrated by her own hand, about Sammi the princess, who had to pick a new pet. The inside page stated that it was dedicated to Samantha. And, on the last page she wrote that we should stay tuned for Part 2. It made me cry. It was beautiful. It will be treasured.
And my mind spins...2nd grade. Good. She'll be there for my girl.
Selfish, I know.