One statement is all it takes to turn someones day around. Good or bad.
I wish that I were stronger or more confident to let words just roll off my back but I am not there yet. Some might say... a work in progress. That saying... sticks and stones can break your bones but words will never harm you... not always true. Words hurt!
Izzy and I were having a lazy afternoon of lunch and playtime yesterday. It was time for our Sunday nap so I got her settled and then I got settled. As soon as I was about to doze off, Izzy woke up. 10 minutes is not considered a nap, young lady... that is a tease. So, we decided to go browse some stores. During one of our stops, I asked one of the employees if she could help me find something and after a few comments towards Izzy - I realized she knew she has Down Syndrome. I always wonder if people know or not (does it matter- not normally). She was asking some questions and then she made a statement about years ago, her Mom worked in an institution and how "Mongols used to not be allowed out in public". I am sure there was more to the conversation but I didn't hear anymore. I don't think she had any mean intentions and she was just stating how Down Syndrome was viewed years ago but just hearing that statement I knew that Izzy and I needed to get out of there (no tears allowed while shopping). Then as we were leaving a lady grabbed my arm and said "bless you". Thank you- but why bless me?? At this point, I know I was just being defensive and the poor lady could have just been trying to be nice but Momma couldn't handle anymore.
Words hurt! Just that one word and the fact that if my Isabelle had been born in a different time, her life would have turned out so different. This breaks my heart.
I am still new to the Down Syndrome world. Even though Isabelle is almost 2 we still feel like babies as far as our knowledge goes. So far, other than people staring (which can make things a little awkward) all of our encounters have been pleasant and people seem to love Isabelle and are drawn to her.
This is one of my biggest fears for Isabelle- the future. I can love her with everything inside me... and I do but I can't protect her from others words or actions. There is still ignorance in our world and people that feel that those with special needs don't deserve the same respect. I want people to see Isabelle just as I see her- a baby/a person that deserves the same opportunities as everyone else. This little girl works so hard to be able to do the same things that everyone else is able to do without even thinking and I don't want limitations put on her. Sister is a rock star and she will show this to the world if given the opportunity.
I can't change the world's view of Down Syndrome or special needs but I can and will be a voice for Isabelle and also help her find her own voice.