Monday, June 25, 2012

Small World

In April of 2010, at 11 weeks of pregnancy I had my blood screened. It's a standard screening for pregnant women over the age of 30, and usually comes out completely normal. Needless to say, I was more than stunned when my doctor called to tell me that the screening, combined with the results of the nuchal translucency revealed a 1 in 10 chance of my baby having Down syndrome. What?!

That night, Sean took me to meet his best childhood friend's younger sister, Meaghan. At 26 years old, this young woman with Down syndrome was funny, charming, disarming and down right fun to be around. Her mom, Eileen, was so supportive and kind to me that night (and the weeks that followed). Among the many things she explained to me was that Down syndrome manifests on a spectrum of severity (kinda like autism, I think). Some people, like Meaghan, are high functioning. They go to public schools, they participate in extracurricular activities including sports, they hold jobs and some live independently as adults. Other people may need a bit more intervention as adults, and some are essentially nonverbal. Eileen mentioned that one of Meaghan's friends named Cliff was not as verbal as she.

Fast forward more than two years.

Today Max and I went to CVS to pick up his prescription for omeprazole (Prilosec). At 19 months of age Max's reflux is almost as bad as it was as an infant! Anyhow, waiting in the pharmacy line I noticed a young man ahead of me with Down syndrome. When his mother was finished with her transaction she tapped him on the shoulder saying, "Let's go honey." As they passed she stopped to gush over Max who was sleepily sucking on his binky in the seat of the shopping cart. I could tell that she knew Max had Down syndrome too. When she left I felt badly that I didn't try to make more of a connection with her. I should've gotten her name or something! Oh well, I thought. Next time.

And then as Max and I were leaving the store, the women jogged up to us. "I'm sorry, you probably think I'm crazy, but does your husband work at the furniture store?" "Yes!" I said, and I didn't think she was crazy at all. I was so happy she'd made the effort. Apparently she'd been shopping for furniture at some point with her son, and Sean, being the proud father that he is, showed her some pictures of our beautiful boy. We are a select few families, so she made the connection quickly when she us today. In a short, very friendly conversation ending with hopes to meet again in the future I got her name. It's Celia, and her son's name is Cliff.

Oh, hello, Cliff. It's very nice to meet you. :)

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