“The Buddy Walk is only one mile walk. I think you can handle it,” I joked. “And really, with so many people with Down syndrome, we don’t move fast!”
When The Peanut Butter Falcon was available for streaming, I didn’t want to watch it on my own. The viewing experience would be fuller with friends who knew Down syndrome. Whether the movie was good, bad or otherwise, we’d share in that knowing together.
A group of us moms got together at my house. The majority of us were raising teens, or kids that teetered on the edge of teenage-hood. We poured generous glasses of wine, loaded tiny decorative paper plates with dense dips, sturdy crackers and crunchy veggies, squished together on the couch, pulled up spare chairs, and settled in.
We erupted in laughter in the same scenes together, we shared audible silences in the same scenes together, tears leaked from the corners of our eyes in the same scenes together, and we enjoyed scenes of pure entertainment in the same scenes together. And we all wondered together, over the rolling closing credits, why Zak’s (the main character with Down syndrome) duration in underwear was deemed necessary.
Then in our post-movie review, we all first recalled the same scene together: Tyler’s adamant assertion to Zak that he stop asking him questions; there was a slight pause then Zak picked right back up with more questions. We broke out in laughter again and remarked on how our kids would do the same.
Our review continued along the same vein; how relatable Zak’s behaviors were to our own kids’. And where there were varied differences, we could still fully relate.
If you are a parent, it’s highly likely you have your own friend group of parents who have children in a similar age group.
Though your kids are fully their own individuals, you easily laugh together over shared traits; you easily share audible, thoughtful silences over certain situations, and likely enjoy the pure entertainment in others. Though each child has their own unique differences, a group of friends raising children of a certain age group can fully appreciate and relate to another’s experiences through their own.
There is running joke at our annual Buddy Walk: “Who is going to win the Buddy Walk this year?”
I’ve been to 15 annual Buddy Walks (since Wil was 7 months old). I can guarantee about 70% of the kids will either decide at some point to sit it out (more than once), run to a play structure, or take some sort of tangent. Our kids can be very quick, and cunning in their moments of escape, but typically in any other direction than the paved walk. (Some may argue my statistic is on the low side).
Laughing about our kids taking their time to get to the finish line is not a slight against them. Its relating a typical scene in our lives that we share together. Any one of us parents would say our lives are fuller for it.
So sometimes I forget when I make “off the cuff” comments like that. It’s not a familiar scene to everyone yet — it wasn’t one to me once — and we are both watching a movie of our own. When those scenes find a way to merge, I have no doubt we’ll share in that laughter together.