I don’t get much attention from men these days… a 50 year old pool operator really isn’t all that attractive. But last Thanksgiving I was swept off my feet. It started with simple hand holding, and before I knew it he was leading me upstairs. He wanted me to lay down with him and watch the cartoon network. Meet David…
For a whole day he was my friend. We were inseparable. It was the nicest way to earn a back ache that I could remember. Children with Down syndrome have an extra chromosome. With that extra chromosome come some typical characteristics that most of us are familiar with. I like to think the extra chromosome gives them something we desperately need.
I can’t imagine the stress and difficulties that come with raising a special needs child; the constant worry about their health, the 1000’s of appointments, and the parental vigilance that never eases. David’s parents do an amazing job of raising him, but I can only imagine there are days that end in complete exhaustion and frustration. There are some funny moments too. I recently heard that David, upon seeing that his parents were packing for a trip, packed his bag as well. No big deal; until his dad got to their destination and realized that David had removed all his underwear from his suitcase. I’m guessing David figured If he couldn’t go with them, then his dad’s underwear wasn’t going to get to go either! So, mixed with all the work and worry there are moments of humor, and lots of love. But that’s not the thing we desperately need…
David was recently in the Special Olympics, and apparently he crushed it! See..
But that is not the best part. Immediately after he got his medal, he beseeched the crowd to give it up for his opponent! It was totally spontaneous, totally from the heart, totally David. And that is what we are missing. We are missing the ability to cheer for our fellow man. To not want all the applause for ourselves. To not make it all about us. To love and live without ego. To encourage the one who hasn’t succeeded.
Too many of us use others’ failures to make ourselves feel better. Too many of us hold our applause for someone who may really need it. Too many of us let our ego and pride get in the way of expressing unconditional love to those around us. Me included.
I want to have what David has.
I have had lots of proud Mom moments; and I am so thankful for each and every one of them. Each one takes the sting out of the tough mom moments. But, I cannot imagine the pride and joy that David’s parents felt when he stood on that podium. Not because he won the running race, but because he won at life. I think it must have felt like a giant pat on the back from God. I imagine it was a moment to help take the sting out of all the difficult moments. A moment to say, “Well done Mom and Dad!”
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
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