Last week I had an interesting email correspondence with Hannah's Bio teacher. The topic in class was chromosome and karyotype analysis, and the subject of Down syndrome was discussed. A student asked if Down syndrome was preventable, and the teacher replied, "no, it's just bad luck."
weeeeeeeell now.....let's suffice it to say that didn't go over well. I had a bit of a come-to-Jesus with her, in a nice way (ish) ...all is well. I told her in the end that I'd be happy to bring Nate to her class so her students could meet him and ask me all the questions they wanted to. It would be my pleasure actually...nothing would make me happier than to set the record straight with that teacher and to watch Nate charm his way into every heart at Bayport.
But that got me thinking. Day dreaming actually about what I would say to a class full of teenagers who may or may not have any experience with a kid who has Ds. A hundred different thoughts went racing through my mind, all piling up on top of each other vying for my attention. I tried to organize them in a steady stream of what I know to be true, starting with who he is....
This is my son, Nate. He's six years old. He loves playing games on his ipad and eating pizza. In fact pizza is probably his favorite food, except for burgers. I've tried reading him a few different books at night before bed, and he didn't like any of them, until I found Little House on the Prairie. He learned sign language at around 8 months old, and even though he doesn't need it anymore, sometimes he still uses it, for emphasis...as in "pleeeease, momma...a cookie?" There have been more than one occasion that he has called me "cray" with a crooked grin. Potty training can be tedious, but he is very sensitive to it. I have to be careful not to show frustration because he'll say he's sorry, even though he hasn't done anything wrong. The dogs finally listen to him which makes him giggle every time. He loves to cuddle, especially in our bed. And watch movies. He loves movies. The first time I took him to a 3D movie I thought he'd come out of his skin! He's grumpy sometimes when I wake him up to go to school, but he gets to swim twice a week at Syble Hopp, which he loves. He talks about his church a lot, and asks every week if it's "Able Friday." He is the darling of Camp Daniel. He is affectionate, tender, hilarious, brave, sensitive, charismatic, loyal and smart. He's totally adorable, too. :) He tells me he loves me at least a half dozen times a day, and usually it is when I am helping him, which is all the more endearing. He plays baseball in the Miracle League. He loves Mickey Mouse and Curious George. And his big brother. Whenever his dad plays the piano, he gets out his drum and plays along. He reminds us to pray before meals, and requires us to hold hands around the table, even though we have not historically ever held hands during prayer. (he also will look around the table while he's praying to make sure everyone's eyes are closed lol). He loves yogurt, especially sitting on the counter eating it while I cook. He notices if I get a haircut, likes hot tubs, loves his sisters and is a great traveler. Whenever the front door opens, he'll often say, "Becky's home!" He's tired of getting his photo taken, complains about taking medicine and will pretend he hasn't heard me say it's time to turn off Spy vs. Spy.
These are just a few things off the top of my head that describe this awesome kid. The list is ever-changing. Bad luck? I don't think so. Although Hannah's teacher apologized to her, I really wanted her to apologize to the entire class for making such a horrible comment that may stick in the minds of kids who may not know any better. But Maddie told me to let it go, and Hannah was mortified at the thought. I still may, but I might not. I haven't decided. All I know for sure is I get to live every day of my life with this boy who has changed me forever. The last thing I said to Hannah's teacher was "the best luck I've ever had was the day Nate was born."
This kid....yeah....he's the end of the rainbow.