I am not different, I am ordinary. My son Dermot is an ordinary boy. There are a lot of children like Dermot. Our family's situation is not special or remarkable. I know that now.
At ten thirty this morning I didn't feel that way at all. I was full of apprehension because of our second unpredictable social situation this weekend. First was the neighborhood block party. I get all tensed up, make sure my boys look presentable and bring an extra special dessert.
The party was great. We met several new neighbors, chatted with familiar ones and watched our boys enjoy the deejay and dance their little behinds off. Worried for nothing!
One down, one to go I told myself as we were walking home Saturday evening.
The other would be on Sunday morning. A graduation open house for a friend of the family. We would know only the family and ALL the others would be watching us and staring at Dermot, I told myself.
We set out a bit late. I made sure the boys were dressed appropriately and armed myself with my biggest "I'm ok" smile. After a forty five minute drive out to a country suburb, complete with farmland and horse ranches we arrived. Overwhelmed by the amount of cars parked up and down the dirt road I started to freak out a bit. The only thing worse that a few people staring at Dermot, was a ton of people staring at him. With no obvious place to park, Joe dropped the ramp and I rolled Dermot out and brought the other boys with me to join the party. I immediately saw our host and his daughter, the graduate. To my surprise she remembered me, seeing us almost ten years prior. We chatted with her and her father until Joe arrived.
As we sat eating our delicious meal, we chatted with a grown woman with Down syndrome, an older gentleman who was blind and a few other women. Dermot was almost immediately greeted by a teenage girl with Down syndrome and wanted to know all about him. As I sat and observed my surroundings, my anxiety vanished.
Then they walked up the driveway. Two young girls, probably late teens, early twenties. I took a double take. I'd never before seen girls such as these two. They walked together, sisters. Same hair style, same facial features. They shared something remarkable and quite stunning. They shared their legs, they shared their arms. Two heads, two torsos, but only two legs and two arms. Huh.
Friends greeted them, they fixed plates of food for themselves and they sat and ate.
I glanced at them periodically being very careful not to stare. I knew then that my family's situation was ordinary compared to these girls. I imagined what they have experienced in their lifetimes and what they go thru on a daily basis put any right I had of feeling different and special to rest.
I was glad to feel ordinary and glad to be in the presence of two extraordinary girls. I wish them well.