Last night, stretched out next to Wil in his bed, having just finished reading him his bed time story, I pointed up to the pieces of paper taped on the wall next to us.
“Where is the beetle?” I asked, and he pointed to the picture with a colorful crayon drawn bug.
“I did that one!” He said.
“Yes, I love her purple head.” I said.
“And, orange feet!” He replied.
“How do you like Ms. Wier?” I asked (Ms. Wier is his new resource room teacher).
“I like her.” He said.
“What did you do with Ms. Wier today?” I asked.
“I don’t know.”
“You mean, I’m thinking?” (A great technique I learned from Wil’s summer speech therapist.)
“Yes, I’m thinking.” (Ha! It worked again!)
“Ok, what’s ONE thing? Just one thing you did today with Ms. Wier?” I asked. “Did you count dots? Go over to the bean bag room?”
“The Fall book!” And, then it all started tumbling out.
I laid there, listening, so thankful. So thankful he could now tell me these things, and so thankful he is with people who love him during the day. People who want him to learn just as much as I do.
And, sometimes, I also feel an overwhelming sadness come over me during these same moments. I think of the sweet babies with Down syndrome in the orphanages overseas, or even children here in the US, who were given away, just because of their teeny tiny extra chromosome. Children who have no one to ask them how their day was, children who are not told they are loved. They fall further and further behind by the day, proving the statistics that their parents so feared, simply because they are not given the love, the time, or the opportunity. As these thoughts run through my head, I look, in close up view, at my beautiful boy’s face, his sweet soft pale skin, the pink cheeks, that bright smile, and his wispy blond hair. I smooth his hair back and say to him:
“You are so very loved Wil. I love you so much, I want you to know that.”
He smiles, and says, “I know!” And he goes right back to telling me all the things he did with Ms. Weir that he “didn’t know” just a few moments ago.
When I have these happy/sad moments, I think back on Mother Teresa’s quote, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
Last Sunday, our Ds support group had our annual Buddy Walk. It was a beautiful, sunny day, the energy was high and the support for Wil and his friends with Down syndrome was no less than amazing! Wil and his buddies with and without Down syndrome held hands on the one mile trek, parents snapped pictures on the playground fixtures along the way, everyone devoured pizza, enjoyed cotton candy, participated in crafts and danced together. There is no fear of those 47 chromosomes on Buddy Walk day. In fact, those with the extra chromosomes are celebrated! And, the best part is, that celebration of our kids does not live only on Buddy Walk day. It spreads far and beyond. We carry that love with us, and have the power to influence others with that love; it is a stone cast across the waters creating many ripples.
I will still have those happy/sad moments lying next to my boy in the times to come; the great waves of gratitude, and the tides of sadness for the sweet souls who have been so sadly left behind. But, maybe, just maybe, for all of those that love my son and his friends, their love will spread to reach a mother in doubt at just the right time. And, that one mother, having been given the opportunity to see her child’s extra chromosome in a new light, will feel her fear dissipate. Over time, as her love grows, she, having known doubt, will become a stronger advocate, having even more power to focus her light on those mired in fear and doubt. And, so the stone is cast across the waters.