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.