Just Like Me

Christmas  Break 037Sometimes in the sheer busy-ness that is our life, I lose sight of the forest for the trees. Our family has had some pretty wonderful opportunities because of our unique circumstances. This school year, for instance, we have been speaking to elementary and junior high classes about Down syndrome.

We started with Julianna’s public school classroom and moved on to the Catholic school, where we spent one morning giving half-hour presentations about Down syndrome to every grade level from 3-8. Julianna was in school that day, so the vice principal invited me to bring her in on Valentine’s Day, when she was out of school. We visited with the younger grades that day–the kids her age (1st and 2nd grade).

The little kids were so funny, and so cute. We’d do a little introduction to what Down syndrome is and how it makes things a little harder for Julianna, and we asked if they had any questions. Julianna sat up front, like the VIP of the week, and I interpreted her answers. And what did they ask? Well, here’s a sample:

What’s your favorite food?

What’s your favorite color?

Who’s your favorite character?

These were the same questions Julianna’s classmates asked the day we presented at her school. At first, Christian and I felt a bit exasperated. The kids seemed to be missing the point. Then we realized we were the ones missing the point. This was exactly what we wanted: for the kids to realize that in everything that really matters, Julianna is just like them.

Fast forward a few weeks.

Julianna started back up with swim lessons last night. It was great swimming weather: twenty degrees and horizontal spitting snow. Julianna was wild with excitement as we drove to the pool. Swim lessons, riding in the truck, oh my, she might never recover from so much excitement. She leaned over to wave in my face. “Mommy Mommy Mommy!” she shouted, apropos of nothing. “What, ish, your, fayee, foo-t?”

“What’s my favorite food?” I repeated, laughing as she quivered with anticipation of the answer. And I realized this was Julianna showing me that even though I’m big, busy Manager Mom and she’s little, first-grade daughter, we too are alike in every way that counts.

“Chocolate,” I said, and her squeal of delight made the moment transcend busy-ness.


Note: I had my first spiritual direction meeting this week. I may break open that experience later (we’ll see), but for now I mention it because one of the things I realized as a result of that meeting was that I actually do need to dial down the blogging another day. So as of this week I’ll be dropping to a M-W-F schedule.