We took an overnight trip to the Lake of the Ozarks last weekend. Christian had a piano gig, so I set about putting the kids to bed by myself…in a hotel room at the end of a two-hour drive. Let me say this. You’ve heard (and used, no doubt) the phrase “bouncing off the walls.” We all know what it means, but I didn’t realize it literally could happen. I knew Alex was excited, so I tried hard to bite my tongue, but it was so hard! The little ones sat on the bed with me reading books and getting distracted as their big brother rolled over one bed, flying leapt onto the other, rolled over it, smacked into the outer wall, and came back to do it all in reverse.
With that in mind, just guess how well we all slept. Yup, you guessed it. Sleeping with children at the hotel has dropped about twenty places on Mommy and Daddy’s priority list as the kids get older. Christian slept badly because Julianna’s bottom was going up and down all night (so he claims) and Alex repeatedly decided that he prefers to sleep diagonally across the bed. Somehow I kept waking up with five-year-old feet three inches from my face.
The next afternoon, we went miniature golfing at Pirates Cove. They have lovely little waterfalls and ponds there (though I must admit the blue-dyed water is a little creepy), and since no one slept well, the little ones were hard to handle. They kept stealing balls from the green, trying to walk across distinctly non-child-safe rope bridges, and sitting down in the middle of the fairway. One ball skipped the edge of the green and began rolling down the grass toward the pond. “Better catch that before it goes in the water,” Christian told Alex, who hurriedly grabbed it….just before Julianna (or was it Nicholas?) nonchalantly chucked my ball right into the water.
It’s Down Syndrome Awareness month, and although I’m not posting every day, as some are, I have found myself with a lot to say on the subject. I followed a link the other day to Amy Julia Becker’s post on the NY Times parenting blog. Becker is a good advocate for special needs, but I made the mistake of reading the first 25 comments. It was appalling to find that without exception, the hostile-to-DS, pro-choice comments received at least double, and sometimes three times as many reader “recommendations” as those affirming the message that people with special needs are valuable, too. But this comment, at #14, was the one that broke my heart:
I grew up with a sibling with Down Syndrome. We are now both over 50 years of age. With the passing of our parents, guess who is responsible for him now? How nice for Amy Julia Becker that she has the money, time and support to take the risk of having another child with Downs! But William will be left holding the bag for one or both his siblings after Amy is long gone. Let’s hope he feels as “privileged” then as she does now.
The bitterness in that response makes my stomach turn. Literally. I get queasy reading it again. Can you imagine what this person’s poor brother must have to tolerate from his sibling, who should be loving him unconditionally? Please God, my children will never, NEVER approach Julianna with such heartless rancor!
On a related, but happier note, someone directed me to the Little Sisters of the Lamb, an order of religious women in France who welcome women with mental disabilities. WOW. I mean…WOW. If only they weren’t six thousand miles away and speaking another language!
In the “You guys are seriously too on the ball” category: We ordered our photo Christmas cards last night. Don’t worry, we’ll leave something else till the last minute to make up for it.
Advent is getting closer all the time. Have you started thinking about how you will balance the busy-ness and the sacred yet?
Have a happy Friday!
- Sibling conference draws brothers and sisters together in “a very fine boat” (psychologytoday.com)