Monday, October 12, 2009

Down Syndrome Awareness -- 31 for 21 -- What's So Special About Me?

As the mother of identical twins who ALSO happened to have been blessed with an extra 21st chromosome (aka Down syndrome) AND who ride around in a big, bright red, side-by-side double stroller... we attract a lot of attention. Add to that the propensity for my boys to warmly greet absolutely EVERY ONE who walks past us, shaking hands, waving hello and blowing kisses and you can see why they're magnets for attention! My guys and the Old Soul -- in my biased opinion -- are extraordinary!

Still, some folks walk past and give us "the look"! Every mother of a child with special needs knows about "the look". That stolen glance that culminates with "politely" looking away and avoiding eye contact lest I recognize the glint of pity in their eye for me and my children. They seem to have "I'm so sorry for you" written all over their foreheads. I think I speak for all of us Moms of kids with special needs when I say, we hate "the look". And, although we each handle it differently -- some in an informative way, some with disdain for the looker, some self-consciously, some with sarcasm, some with humor, and so on -- it puts every one in an awkward and uncomfortable position. But, this post isn't about "the look". It's about the OTHER reaction. The mesmerized-by-your-beautiful-angels reaction that inevitably results in a comment that goes something like this....

"You must be a very special person. God doesn't give children like these to just anyone!"

4 1/2 years into this and I still never know quite how to handle that comment.

You know what? Thanks! I guess, I do believe I'm kind of special! But I don't think that's why God gave me these beautiful children. And yes, I do believe THESE particular children were meant to be mine... just as they are. In truth, I think it's these particular children that make me so special (not vice versa). I know my little guys and my Old Soul are very special. These children have brought me more than my 15 minutes of fame... They've immersed me in fame that's lasted 4 1/2 years so far... with no sign of stopping. It seems as though this fame -- their fame -- is going to last a life time. Their life time! And, I am happily along for this glorious ride!

Am I basking in the shadow of their limelight? Absolutely! Do I prefer it that way? Absolutely! I do believe I am special... because I am Brian's and Michael's AND Olivia's mother! That's how I feel... That's how I think it is.... For me, anyway!

I'm thinking some of you (Hi Mom!) might say that I should recognize how special I am in my own rite. To you [and Mom] I say, yes, I know. Aren't we all special in our own way? But, the thing that really differentiates me, I think, are these children of mine. They are extraordinary! (All 3 of them!) If I leave any significant mark on this world, it will be because of them. I am -- and I suspect I will be remembered as -- their mother. Because I know they will leave their mark on this world in such a profound way it defies explanation. They already have for me and for so many others!

So, that's what's so special about me!


  1. I always wish there was some sort of hand shake or something. Since i"m 21 and have no kids I worry parents think im staring. But i always smile, in what I hope is a "holy crap your kids are so cute and i hope mine are that cute one day" and then I fight the urge to go over and ask if I can babysit. lol

  2. Molly - Go ahead and say just what you expressed above (except maybe leave out the cr*p word ;). I would LOVE to hear how cute you think my guys are. There's sincerity in speaking the truth! I believe every parent of a child with special needs would appreciate such a sentiment! I personally don't mind the questions either. I'm here to educate. Though I know some moms who don't think it's anyone's business and prefer not to answer questions. My approach is to ask if it's ok to ask questions (before I ask any). There should be more people like you in the world! Accepting! I love getting the your-kids-are-so-cute smile over "the look"!

  3. Maggie,

    I know you think what makes you special is that you are Brian, Michael, and Olivia's mom...but that is just the tip of the iceberg. What makes you special is that you are my friend...and don't take that lightly. Sure I hang out and associate (and Lord know I talk to ) a lot of people, but youare a true friend. My friends need to be caring, giving, loyal, funny, able to laugh at me as well as themselves, smart, outgoing and sometimes even outspoken. You are all of this and then some. Yes, you will be remembered as their mom, but you are appreciated for the great person that you are that makes you the great mom that you are. So, I would have to agree with your Mom...besides you gave me that HUGE box of Nilla Wafers and that alone would make you special to me!

  4. "If I leave any significant mark on this world, it will be because of them." Love that!

  5. I came here from Bloom. I have a handicapped daughter and here the "you must be special" thing all the time. People prefer to believe that because then it can't happen to them. Or at least that's my take on it. Cute boys.