Thursday, August 2, 2012

Interesting Encounters

In 20 months I expected to have a number of, I guess, uncomfortable "Down syndrome moments." I haven't. I shouldn't be surprised. Not much of this experience has been even close to what I imagined while Max was in my belly. Having him in my life has brought me boundless joy, and the most fulfilling responsibilities I've ever had.

I should clarify my initial statement. I've had a few "Down syndrome moments,'--the immediate and honest reaction that a stranger has at the moment he or she realizes that Max has Down syndrome. I've had a few, but they've never been uncomfortable.

A week ago, Sean and I were at Sears, trading in our broken Blu-ray player. While waiting for a call back from someone higher up, the friendly manager who was helping us took a good look at Max. It wasn't clear if he could see the Down syndrome or not, but here's what he said:

"You know, they are all such blessings. It's sad that so many crazy people can have kids and don't realize the blessings that they are."

Sean asked me later if I thought he was referring to Max's Down syndrome. I think he was, and in his way he was singing his praises.

Today, Max and I went to Michael's looking for supplies for a picture board (details to follow in a future post). In the checkout line the woman in front of us turned, took a long look at Max and said,

     "Does he have Down syndrome?"

    "I'm sorry, what?" I said.

    "Does he have Down syndrome?"

    "Yes, he does," I replied.

    "Oh, I'm sorry for you."

And this was the moment of truth. What comes out of my mouth unfiltered reflects how I really feel. And what I say is thrilling:

      "Well, I'm not."

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