Saturday, March 21, 2015

He is your blessing

Today is March 21, World Down Syndrome Day.  I don't have any clever, funny, or deep thoughts to post, but I do want to share a memory.  This sticks out as the most poignant moment of my year.

Last May, Cade broke his leg.  In the weeks after, we spent quite a bit of time in the orthopedist's office.  You meet all kinds of people in an orthopedist's office.  Rich, poor, young, old.  On this particular day, I met an elderly Hispanic woman.  I barely noticed her at first, my attention on my children who were putting together a giant skeleton puzzle.

Her words eventually dug through the haze in my head and got my attention.  "How old?  How old?"  She was pointing a crooked finger at Cade, playing at my feet.  I think I said something brush-offish, "Oh, he's 15 months", and I turned back to my kids.

A moment later, I realized she was still speaking.  Her English was rough and I didn't understand everything, but I got the impression she was telling me that my children were beautiful.

Then she points at my 4-year-old son, who has typical chromosomes.  "That one, he leave you.  He will grow up and be away."

She points at Cade.
   "But he is your blessing.  He will always be with you."

I could have been offended at her implication that Cade would live with us forever, but her manner was so sweet and so personal, I knew she giving me a gift.

She went on to tell me that she had had a son like Cade, presumably with Down syndrome, although her limited English couldn't tell me that.  He had died; I couldn't tell if he'd died 42 years ago, or at age 42, but she was teary eyed as she told me about him. 

Her name was called and she left.  I didn't see her again, but the moment stayed with me.  Her words come to mind often as I watch my children.  She's right, my other children will grow up and leave me.  Perhaps Cade will, too, but I understood what she meant.  He is my blessing.


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