Welcome to Our House - The Analogy ©

Having a baby is special. For some, it’s a lifelong dream, for others, a wonderful surprise. Either way, many of us have thought about taking this journey and whether it’s planned or a pleasant surprise, we all have preconceived ideas about what our child will look and be like. But what if it isn’t what we planned or expected? This is a short story I have written for parents who have or are expecting an exceptionally special child.

Welcome to our House – An analogy

After many months of dreaming, you finally decide it’s time. You are going to build that perfect house of your dreams. You have saved and saved, and now it’s time to put your plan into action. You find a wonderful, perfect piece of land in the city. It’s exactly what you are looking for – because it’s the plan that everyone talks about. You envision the all brick house sitting on luscious green grass, surrounded by a white picket fence. Inside is a marble foyer leading into a family room with beautiful oak hardwood floors. Granite lines the kitchen counter tops and there is an island sink in the middle. Upstairs has four perfect bedrooms and the master bedroom has an ensuite bathroom and an enormous walk-in closet, of course. It’s truly a dream come true, and it’s only a matter of time. You purchase the land and think to yourself, in nine short months, you will have it all.

But suddenly your agent calls to tell you, the land is not properly zoned, and the city has not approved it for building your perfect home. They have instead, given you land in the country, where an old country home sits. You are absolutely devastated, your dreams vanishing right before your eyes. You know you can’t back out now, you need a place to live, and despite it not being what you wanted, you know that somehow you will manage and that you can continue on.

You tell everyone what has happened, and everyone is disappointed, some even offering their condolences. You know that everyone else has a nice city home, and that was what you had planned, but you have to come to terms with the fact that you must learn to live in the country.

You go to see the property every month until closing and something funny happens. You start to fall in love with the place. The air is fresh, it’s peaceful and serene. There’s a pond on the land, and the house, though not a new all brick home, is quaint, and has lots of hidden potential. You soon realize it’s not a awful place, it’s just a different place. It’s slower paced than the city, less noisy and flamboyant, but it’s beautiful none the less. And in the process, you soon realize you may even get to meet some new and wonderful neighbours.

Its closing day and you suddenly find yourself full of anticipation, but you are still a little worried. After all, it isn’t what you had originally hoped for, and the house may need some repairs. But you are determined to accept it, and tackle everything one step at a time. You open the front door, and suddenly you are thrilled with what you see. The house is lovely, and has lots of character. The rooms are smaller but it’s decorated with beautiful attention and detail. The kitchen has marble instead of granite, and the bathroom has a soaker tub instead of a Jacuzzi. There isn’t a walk-in closet in sight, but the rooms all come with an indescribable view. Somehow, you just know that it was always meant to be and that this is now home.

This is my analogy of what it will be like for people who discover that they will be caring for a baby with Down syndrome. For us, it is not a terrible place to be, it is a journey full of surprises, milestones and discovery like any other child. And as the story suggests, sometimes it’s only a matter of ‘point of view’, and surprisingly, once you have been there, you don’t want to be anywhere else. The journey, like all others doesn’t come without some bumps in the road, but once you find your way, it’s all about the place you discovered, in most cases - quite by random chance
Author: Sandi Graham-McWade, Copyright

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Journal - Week 39 (19May10)

Just how many teeth do you have?

Well, well!  What did I just discover yesterday?  Hunter has sprouted yet another tooth!  It's his upper left front tooth and it's broken through the gum line.  That makes 3, plus the original tooth way back when he was just about four months old (his eye tooth or one behind that on his bottom left side) still pops up every now and again.  That tooth really is the case of the disappearing tooth!  It still plays hide and seek with us.  So happy to see he is able to chew some things now to give him a taste of solids.

I found something that is controverisal to say at best, on one of my forums I frequent.  I thought I would put it here in my blog for people to watch and think, "What would you do?"

ABC's "Primetime: What Would You Do" includes a scenario where a woman berates a grocery store bagger with Down Syndrome on the Wednesday, May 19th episode on ABC at 10 PM Pacific Time.  The bagger is portrayed by self advocate Mark Hubler of Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Currently on ABC News' website you have the opportunity to respond with what you would do if you observed this act.

To find out how customers would respond to such a scenario, we set up our "What Would You Do?" hidden cameras in a grocery store in Brooklyn, N.Y. While the scene described may seem extreme, it echoes behaviour that happens all too often.
In this very store, a grocery clerk named Elvis -- who has an intellectual disability -- has been stocking shelves for more than a decade. His boss, Ivan, calls Elvis "the best," and holds him up as a standard for all other employees. Unfortunately, customers sometimes berate Elvis, using words like "stupid," "idiot" and -- the most hurtful -- "retard."
Madeline Will of the National Down Syndrome Society knows how this word damages people with special needs.
"It makes them feel less valuable, makes them feel less human," she said. "It's important to say, again and again, this is wrong, this is not fair, this is not how we treat other people."
But will customers take a stand when they see a person with special needs being verbally abused?
To find out we hired Josh Eber, an actor who has Down syndrome. Josh has spent his life acting opposite Muppets on "Sesame Street" and A-list actors in Hollywood movies, but for two days he played the part of a grocery clerk facing profound ignorance supplied by other actors, posing as customers in line.
[There is a short 30 second advertisement before the clip starts]

Keep in mind - the people in this clip are Actors.  But we all know this kind of behaviour happens everyday, and sometimes from people we just don't expect to hear it from.  Hopefully you wouldn't let this kind of bad and totally unacceptable behaviour go unanswered.  As the representative from the National Down syndrome Association says, silence condones the actions.  And just like any other bad remarks like racism and the like - it's wrong.

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