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, October 19, 2011

My Journal - Week 112 (19Oct11)

who just happens to have Down syndrome!

It was only a matter of time before the world would realize - Down syndrome isn't different....  "More alike than different" is the Down syndrome motto and it is becoming more of a reality than in past years.  Networks are working to introduce a new preschool cartoon character named "PUNKY".  Punky is not your run of the mill cartoon.  He has Down syndrome!!  Equality in every way now includes the cartoon world!!  The Ds world is very excited about Punky because slowly he gives children with Down syndrome a voice that says, we are just like you, even in cartoon-land.  When this cartoon hits the airwaves, it will give this new generation of preschoolers a view about Ds that the 80's generation got with "Corky" (Actor Chris Burke) from Life Goes On.

It's not just the cartoon world that has introduced Down syndrome into the view of the general public's eye.  Currently Sesame Street has several children with Down syndrome on it and at least one child with Ds is on nearly everyday.  Prime-time shows are now casting actors who happen to have Down syndrome, and they make the regular cast - not just stand in's or guest spots.  Take a look at Lauren Potter (Down syndrome Association of Los Angels' member with Down syndrome) - she plays Becky Johnson on T.V.'s hit show GLEE.  And WHY NOT?  1 in 660 babies born are born with Down syndrome.  A newer updated statistic (from 1:880) that makes a person more likely to have Down syndrome than a person to be born with red hair.  Interesting... isn't it? I thought so too, considering that Red hair occurs on approximately 1–2% of the human population (according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_hair) and the world's population of Down syndrome is at 2% and rising.

Take a peek here and read about this new character:  http://www.awn.com/news/cartoons/target-wins-global-rights-new-preschool-animation-punky

I am glad that parents and families who watch cartoons with their children, will get to see PUNKY.  Perhaps ideas will change when more people are exposed to the realities that Down syndrome isn't an unknown, strange or scary "disability" as some think it is.  Visions change when people are forced to realize that Down syndrome exists and they meet face to face with someone who has Ds.  Otherwise Ds is an unknown.  So perhaps this little cartoon child "Punky" will introduce Down syndrome in a way that is (of course) less threatening - being that he is a cartoon after all!


  1. Sadly all what you wrote here was said in the '80's too and there was a TV show with a regular actor appearing weekly. Human nature just has some odd behaviour that keeps repeating. Look at the nasty bullying issues amongst kids. It was around when we were kids and is still around today.

  2. Well perhaps (in general) I am a little more optimistic and I don't think it's sad at all. I think the 80's were a start and as time goes on, the more Ds is "out there" the more "usual" it will be regarded. I don't think that airing Down syndrome is synonymous with bullying. We can't compare bullying (an action) to ideals about Ds. At least I don't think we can, and bullying occurs among children, preconceptions about Ds occur mostly because of adults. The equation to me isn't the same. And in my blog I did mention about Corky who I believe is the TV show you are speaking about... that was the point I was trying to make. I guess, even as time goes on I don't see struggles regarding Ds as sad or terrible... I just think it's my job to educate and educate those who have the preconceptions that we are trying to eradicate. In the end, if I let me self be bitter or sad about the same old same old, eventually nothing will change. I do believe over the last 30 years, things have changed - a great deal. If we are in it and don't' sit back to view it, we forget or will find it hard to see!


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