Yesterday Tina posted the following on Facebook.
“Today, I met the most beautiful and happy baby named Sophie. She is 1 and super friendly. Her mom was talking to Rob and Sonya and explained to them that her baby has Down Syndrome too. The mom was smiling and wiping back tears. It was an awesome interaction and you couldn’t help but smile. We are truly blessed to spend our lives with all 3 of our girls. I know Sophie will bless many lives too!”
People often times will tell Tina and I how lucky they think the girls are to have us. I’m not sure if people realize how blessed we are to have the girls in our lives.
I like to think when young moms, like the one Tina met yesterday, meet Sonya and Robyn or simply observe them in the world, they feel hopeful for the young child with down syndrome that they are raising.
Robyn & Sonya
All 3 of the ladies that live with us bring joy into this world that is unique to them. I can’t imagine what our lives or the planet would be like without them and without their uniqueness.
Every person has something to offer. Every person gives and receives love. Every person leaves their own special imprint on this world. As for Billie, Robyn and Sonya, they have left unique imprints on mine and Tina’s hearts. We will both be forever grateful for the opportunity to be part of their lives.
L – R Billie, Tina, me, Sonya, Robyn
We recently completed our outreach to the homeless. We met a couple sitting outside an abandoned fast food restaurant. It appeared the couple had all of their worldly possessions within reach.
I noticed a white stuffed bear laying on the table, where they had been sitting, I mentioned how cute I thought it was. The woman thanked me then suggested I take it because it was just one more thing for her to carry. I told her I couldn’t do that. I was there to give, not take. She kept insisting. Finally I struck a deal with her. I suggested that I would take it but only under the condition that I would give it to someone that would benefit from it. She agreed!
A short time later, while passing out food along Lancaster (local “homeless area”), we met a beautiful little girl that approached us with her mom and three siblings. I asked the mom if I could give the little girl a teddy bear…she agreed!
Today I drove past the place I met the original bear owner. I wanted to let her know the white bear found a home. Unfortunately, I didn’t see her…but I will keep an eye out for her. I want her to know that her kindness and generosity made a little girl smile.
Sometimes in life we are lucky to meet people that bring nothing but sunshine into our lives. Tina and I have been blessed to know a person that fits this description perfectly. DJ was full of life. Her smile lit up every room she entered and her energy bounced off every wall.
When Tina was finishing up her degree as an RN, DJ (also an RN) encouraged her and cheered her on right through her nursing boards. And when Tina graduated DJ sent her an RN pendent.
DJ and her partner Monica are those people you want to spend more time with and every time Tina and I visited San Antonio we would make sure to meet up with them for dinner. Sadly the distance between us made it hard to spend more time together…but we still considered both of them some of our dearest friends.
Unfortunately that light that shined so brightly has now faded. We learned a few days ago that DJ was very ill and this afternoon we learned DJ lost a short but fierce battle with cancer. We are in shock. A person with so much life, so much love, so much energy…gone. It’s hard to understand how this is possible.
Our hearts are broken because we lost a dear friend and our hearts are so terribly broken for her partner Monica and the devastating loss she has experienced. Although we are saddened by this shocking loss, we are grateful that we will always be able to call DJ our friend and certainly grateful that we were given the opportunity to know such a good and loving person.
We will also choose to remember her smile and share with others the love she so freely gave to us.
Monica and DJ
I’ve been pondering what to write about tonight. I was about to give up when I found my way into a conversation with my friend Ski (AKA Karen). She has wanted to volunteer for Special Olympics but because of her hearing loss she has been afraid it would be awkward to communicate with the athletes.
I told Ski she would likely find the athletes willing to find a way to communicate with her.
Her response…”Life is funny. I’d be going to a place with lots of people with special needs – and worrying about them – accepting me. Kind of lets you understand how they feel every day of their lives.”
She is so right.
Even though people with developmental disabilities tend to be discriminated against they don’t typically discriminate against people for their outward appearances. Sonya is a fine example of this. I have never witnessed her judging people for the physical appearance…she judges them on their kindness. If a person is nice, Sonya likes them. She does not judge them by their size, color, hair, clothes, or their gender (even if it is different than their birth certificate!)
I have learned so much about acceptance from people with developmental disabilities.
Many years ago I watched a white lady with Down Syndrome sit on the floor with a 4 year old african american boy…they had a conversation none of us could understand…they had a connection only the two of them understood….we, the “adults” stood around and wished more people could be like the two of them. A true unconditional connection of friendship.
Over the years I have had the privilege to know many people with developmental disabilities. Just like those without developmental disabilities none of them are perfect….but the true difference is, they don’t judge the imperfections they simply love the person.
I am grateful for the many people with disabilities I have gotten to know over the years and I am certainly grateful for the lessons of acceptance they have taught me.