Thursday, October 9, 2008

Proud

You know...I don't think about the future very often. I really do try to stay in the present as much as I can. I am a big time worrier, so the unknown and I aren't exactly the best of friends. Recently, I've realized that I'm spending far too much time fretting about Dylan's heart surgery. In fact, I can't even escape it in my dreams at night.

Anyway...I'm already off the topic and I haven't even begun yet.

Ok, so a few days ago I received a package in the mail from The Children's Hospital in Boston. It contained lots of "stuff" about Down syndrome. There were books, a calendar, pamphlets and a DVD entitled: Celebrating Life With Down Syndrome from The Band of Angels Foundation. Yesterday, on a whim, I decided to watch the DVD.

I plopped down on the rug with Dylan in my lap. A few minutes later, Cassidy positioned herself on my lap as well. We watched the DVD together. It couldn't have been more than 15 minutes long. It contained interviews with various parents of kids with Down syndrome.

One of these interviews showed a mother of a 17 year old boy with Down syndrome. While she was talking, pictures and videos of this young man were flashed across the screen. His mom talked about the relationship that her son has with his sister and how it is all very typical. She then went on to explain how he was on the varsity swim team at his high school. This was of particular interest to me because I was a swimmer as well. I even went on to compete in college. Ooh! This is going to be GREAT, right?! Inspirational! Well...not so much. His mom then went on to explain how her son was the only student with a disability who has ever competed in a varsity sport at that high school. They then showed this young man at a swim meet. I started getting excited to see him compete. He climbs up to the starting blocks and...jumps into the pool! Jumps! That is a big no-no in competitive swimming. I mean, no one jumps off the blocks! It turns out that the coach had allowed him to be on the varsity team not necessarily because of his abilities as a swimmer, but rather because this boy was dedicated to swimming. He loved the sport.

It goes on to show him finishing the race and everyone was standing up and clapping for him. Snort. I know why they are clapping. Because they feel badly for him. It is the pity clap. Tears start falling down my cheeks and I try to wipe them away before my daughter notices. She turns around and says, "Ok Mommy? Ok Mommy?". I tell her that I am fine. But I don't really feel fine. I feel sad and scared and angry. I can not believe that my son is going to be the kid that people feel badly for. That people pity. That finishes a race dead last.

Later that night Dave and I watched the DVD together. As we were watching it, I looked over at him and saw that he was getting choked up. Tears started to well up in my eyes as well. But this time it was different. Everything was different. I realized that this time I was watching this program as a mom. As a mother. The first time I had watched it as an athlete. The first time I watched it, I felt badly that my son wasn't going to be the best. The second time I watched it, I could only focus on how proud this boy's parents were of him. And you know what? You could tell that he knew that!

Isn't that what is important in this life? I mean, what more can you ask for then to feel so incredibly proud of your children that you cry? I guess the only thing that is more important than that is that your children know, with out a question of a doubt, that you could not be any more proud of them if you tried.

9 comments:

Kimberly said...

Your are right Laur, the most important thing is to feel proud no matter what he is doing and I believe you will. He is going to be great at whatever he does! He will have alot of people proud of him. Love you!

Cleo said...

I think that staying in the now, being positive, having faith in a higher power, seeing the universe as a friend and trusting that are good forces at work, can help you reduce your fear for the unknown. Regarding Dylan’s heart surgery have 100% certainty that it will go well, trust with your whole being that Dylan will be fine, direct all your energies and positive thoughts to his healing and prompt recovery and everything will be OK ~. In relation to your question/answer, I totally agree with you Laurie, the most important thing is that your children can feel how proud you are of them. Enjoying and celebrating Dylan’s triumphs, big and small will make him so happy. Your journey with him has been so empowering, he is growing and learning so much, his life story is his own to write and his potential is infinite. Dylan will continue to brighten your every day and will continue to bring meaning to your life in ways you could never have imagined. ~

Lis said...

Yet another post from you that makes me cry and be so glad to call such a wonderful person my friend.

Lisa said...

Oh, wow, I can relate so well, as usual. I think it's going to be an ongoing lesson for me to see what is really important in life - that the value of a life, and the measure of one's happiness shouldn't be gaged by what they can do, but by how they live, and how they give and receive love.

((hugs)) Laurie, I swear, I feel like you and I cry so many of the same tears.

Karly said...

What a beautiful sentiment and a good reminder of what our focus should be as parents to any child.

Michelle said...

Perfectly said! Thanks for your note on my blog. I, BTW, purchased the magnets at www.321downstreet.com

Inexpensive too! Hugs to you...

Jen said...

It's amazing how a little time can change your mind, isn't it? Can make you see through the obvious to what's really more important. Great post.

Cathy said...

Laurie - you moved me to tears. Thank you for this heartfelt post.

Susan D. Davis said...

Oh my goodness Laurie, I'm crying so much reading this post. You son is going to be the best child ever with you love and support! I feel that I know your son just by reading your blog. The crazy thing too is I feel closer to you and remembering our day as roommates. Man, how life changes. Love and miss you!