Today my husband and I left Levi to have a leisurely evening at home with a friend and we took the rest of the kids to a Halloween event at a local amusement park for some fun. After a little costumed trick or treating, we got to enjoy a few rides and some games too.
While I was off observing Evan's skills on the mini bulldozers, my husband had his first interaction with another parent of a child with T21. He recounted the story to me afterwards and made me proud.
As he was standing in line with our oldest two children, the ride attendant asked if he minded allowing a mother and her child to cut in front of him. My husband noticed immediately that the child had T21 and so he said, "Yes, of course." As the woman was waiting for the ride to begin, my husband said, "If you don't mind sharing, how old is your daughter?" He was curious and estimated her age to be about 4 years. The mother replied that her daughter was 8 years old. My husband was a little surprised, but managed to explain that our youngest child has T21 also and is just about 4 months old. After the ride ended, the woman told my husband that sometimes it's difficult, for the child with T21 but also sometimes for the siblings. And then she wished us luck.
After he finished telling me this story, I have to admit that I was somewhat suprised by the woman's attitude towards her experiences with T21. In the online community with which I participate frequently, the parents on the Down syndrome board are pretty positive about the condition, generally speaking. Somehow, I think I expected someone in "real life" to have the same sort of perspective when interacting with another parent of a child with T21. In fact, I'm a bit disappointed that she didn't.
Of course, I don't know anything about the woman. Heck, I didn't even meet her - my husband did. But I guess I'd hoped that she'd have something positive to counter the expression of negative experience. It's one of those kinds of letdowns that makes me wonder if perhaps there's a bit of disillusionment going on in my own life. Perhaps.
I know that we're sometimes told to expect it, but I can't presume to know that our life with Levi will be any more challenging that our life with Trevor or Katelyn or Evan for that matter. Perhaps it will be, but then again, life often has a way of presenting us with something unexpected. I told my husband that I truly believe that until he shows us otherwise, we need to behave as though Levi has no limits, just like we would for our other children. I think that having high expectations but being open to when those goals are met will be the best thing for him. I also gave Hubby props for remembering to use the term, "T21" instead of Down syndrome. Yay, Hubby!!
We don't often have interactions with other parents of children with T21 as we're generally not really good with introducing ourselves to complete strangers. But I think we're slowly changing those habits and I'm going to look forward to our next meeting ~ and have expectations for good things!
And since a post usually isn't complete without a visual aide, here's a picture of my toddler on the "scary-go-round" for the first time. It's a little blurry (as are most pics of him since he's always moving), but I think his feelings about the ride are very clear!