Last night I was on the computer when Justin came home from working at a friends house.
I was sitting at our computer desk trying to figure out how I wanted to word a reply that I felt I had to give on a Facebook post. I had received a message in regards to a video that I had posted. The intentions were good and that was obvious, but it still stirred something inside that I didn't like.
(To better explain the situation, I may need me skip around a bit.)
Last night I was going back through my Facebook page. I saw that I had a reply to the most recent video that I had posted. The comment said this; "People with Down Syndrome are more loving, caring, and appreciate life better then us. They are God's Angels here on earth to help us be better human beins."(I copied and pasted.)
I feel I have to first say that my Aunt, whom I love, made this comment. She is a good person, with a big heart, but I am going to make an example from her comment because it was the one that I replied to.
I had been sitting at the desk when Justin came in. I must have looked pretty confused because Justin asked me what was wrong.
I read the comment out loud to him and paused, because I didn't know how to explain what it was that I was feeling.
Luckily, Justin is a calm and patient man. We have a different way of looking at life's situations which makes us compliment each other very well. It can also, at times, make things a bit edgy between us. Which in return tends to make him a bit "light footed" in some of our conversations. This was one of those times.
Again, I feel as if I may be getting confusing. So, back to the video comment...
At that point I still didn't know what to say to make him understand so I asked him to first watch the video. Which we did together.
Afterward, I began to explain that while I knew what my aunt was trying to say was suppose to show love and support for all people who have Down syndrome, it was still singling out that very same group of people. The "they" was prominent. I began to explain that Vada having Down syndrome didn't mean anything more than just that, at least not to me. She is still another person. She has the same emotions and feelings as anyone. She can be happy, and angry and sad. She can do anything that anyone else can do.
I'm not a foolish person, I always look at things for what they are. I know that she is going to have struggles, but we all do. Were all good at somethings and not other things. "I am okay that our daughter has Down syndrome." I said. "I don't need to be reassured that everything is going to be okay. It already is. What I need is people to just see her as a baby. She will someday have hopes and dreams and goals that she will want to accomplish just like anyone else. I want people to see that."
So posting a reply was hard. I didn't want to come off bitchy, or rude. I don't want people to think that I am defensive, because even though I am coming to my daughter's defense and every other person who has Down syndrome, I am not defensive in a a way that is coming from anything other than love and admiration for my child. I do feel as if I need to make sure she is treated fairly, at least when I am around. I know that I cant change how people feel or what people think.
I know as she grows up I wont be able to be there for her all of the time.I have been exeriancing this already with Jasmine and Kiliegh. It's a hard thing to handle at times, at least for me. I have often found myself wanting to rescue them, but I cant, because then, how would they grow and learn from those experiances?
I realize that I wont be able to go to school with Vada or when she is old enough to work with her. She will have to learn to be a strong girl who can stand up for herself. I accept that. For now, I feel like its my job to correct peoples thinking habits. Or at the very least make them aware of what they are saying, and what those words actually mean.
Yesterday, Vada had an eye appointment, and the assistant said something about her having chunky cheeks. She implied that it was because of the "Down's" (her wording, not mine). Now, this lady was so kind and patient with Vada and I believe it was because of her that we didn't have to use a speculum to hold Vada's eyes open during the exam. I am sure that she meant nothing offensive by her comment, but it still stung. So, I made sure that I kept a smile on my face and answered pleasantly with "No, not because of her having Down syndrome," I then added the reason, "because of her medications."
I hate when people refer to Vada or anyone else who has Down syndrome as having "Down's", being a "Down's baby" or a "Down's person/people". It's not "Down's" first of all. A long time ago it used to be refereed to as that. However, it no longer is. So since everyone is so set on being politically correct on some of the most tedious things, how about being correct on something that actually evolves peoples feelings..? My baby doesn't act "downsey", she is not retarded and yes, she is "special", every single human being was a creation of God's, that makes us "special", but she is just a baby. A perfect baby in my eyes and she just happens to have Down syndrome. After some consideration my reply was this; "I have not had a whole lot of experience with people who have down syndrome. What I do know is "they" grow from what "they" learn, just like any other person. We are all God's angels, he has given each one of us a purpose. God gave us Vada..., just like Jasmine and Kiliegh, to teach us something more about life, about his love and about our own "unique similarities". (unique similarities ~ think about it.)"
On a side note..., I want everyone to know this..., before Vada, I would have said many of the things that now irritate me. Not because I was trying to be rude, didn't consider others differences, or had anything issues with people who have disabilities. I would have made the comments because I was uneducated in this area and because the majority of society talks in a way that is disrespectful and intentionally or unintentionally singles out those who have disabilities, so certain comments would have come naturally from what I had heard others say. Im sure that I may come off a bit harsh, or rude in some of my posts. I am not trying to be. I personally would rather know the stuff I am putting out there than not know and end up being one of those people who are making hurtful comments. Sometimes we just don't realize what our words are truly saying.