Nathan is Hebrew and means "gift from God" - we couldn't have been more blessed than to have been chosen as his parents!

Thank you for keeping up-to-date with Nathan. We hope you visit often and enjoy experiencing our son's journey as much as we do. Please feel free to leave comments.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Low Expectations ~ Are You Kidding Me?

While playing in the sand on our final day at the Lake a mother approached us and said to Nathan: "Oh what a beautiful boy ~ one of God's Special Children." I know this shouldn't annoy me but it does. God doesn't have "special children" in the bible ~ he has children. Their abilities don't factor into his love equation ~ at least not to my knowledge. Is Nathan special ~ YES. But so are his cousins Emily, Jacob, Noah, Rachael, Ben, Jack, Mairead and Lily. Am I a little sensitive ~ yes. I treat Nathan just like I would any other child and I want others to see him that way too.

Immediately following this women's acknowledgement Nathan turned to her, smiled and clapped. Now, let me make sure this scene is set properly for you ~ we're siting playing on the beach with some sand toys. A women walks over and says something sweet to Nathan and he claps. Do you know what her response was? "Oh, your Mommy must really work with you!" WHAT??? Because he clapped and smiled at her? Or maybe because he was sitting in the sand playing with a few toys?

This sweet women had very low, if any, expectations of children with Down syndrome ~ shame on her and shame on us. Those of us who are parents with children who happened to have designer genes really need to do our part in breaking down these walls and rewrite the expectation book. I need to. I did that day. I showed her that not only can babies with Down syndrome play in the sand and clap but they can WALK ON THE BEACH ALL BY THEMSELVES!!! How's that!


Lianna said...

One day, while travelling home on the city bus, I was excitedly looking over the books I had bought for Gabriel. It was one of a few times out for me following the months he was born.

A man, sitting across from me, watched me looking over the books and commented on it. I said that the books were for my son. I also said that my son has Down syndrome. (During the first year or so, I was compelled to tell people this information...I am not sure why.)

Anyway, he asked me if I knew he had Down syndrome before he was born. And I didn't skip a beat -- by this time, after the long line of medical personnel's idiotic communication entered our lives -- this was a "normal" question. In hindsight, I realize what it was: an invasive and prejudged statement.

I said, "Yes." And he quickly came back with, "Oh, you must be Catholic."

I share this story with you because there are always going to be people who don't believe in our sons. Sometimes, I think it is easier for these people to dehumanize other people with disabilities instead of working towards acceptance.

Nathan, like Gabriel, are able in mind and body. It's unfortunate for this woman to assume otherwise. My focus is on Gabriel's life experience now. Not on what other people assume about him. He's the teacher and always will be, I guess.

Anonymous said...

We have come a long way, but it goes to show how much farther we still need to go. Shame on them.

Hi Nathan, Hope you had lots of fun at camp. Love you much, Lots of kisses

Aunt Domenica

Mairead Elizabeth Hickok said...

I don't understand why people think that other people's children are some kind of exhibit to look at or a topic for discussion. They are just kids, doing whatever kids do. It's unfortunate that you and Nathan will always have to deal with comments or questions like that.

rickismom said...

You are correct. But sometimes I just get so pissed off that I constantly have to inform/educate/ advocate/ defend my daughter's abilities and/or right to exist....