Monday, October 8, 2012

The Happy Truth

Myth: People with Down syndrome are always happy.

Reality:  NOT TRUE!!!

Of all the myths about people with Down syndrome, oh, how I wish this one was true!  Ok, not really, but it would make life a lot easier at times.

upset because I wouldn't let her roam the beach on her own

upset because I wouldn't let her watch her favorite show
People with Ds have feelings just like everyone else. Anna gets angry.  She gets sad.  She gets frustrated.  She throws fits when she doesn't get her way.  She misses people when they leave.  She is stubborn (Oh, boy! Is she ever stubborn!!). She gets tired and cranky. She gets hurt - physically and emotionally.

But, when she is happy, she radiates love.  She is accepting of everyone and has a hug to offer most everyone.  When she is happy, she is boisterous and funny.  When she is happy, she is singing and dancing.  And when she is happy, she shows it by smiling with her whole face.

Anna is also quick to forgive, and very concerned about others when they are upset or crying.  She is friendly and ready to high five everyone who crosses her path.  And, she always seems to seek out those who are a little "different" and manages to give them a little extra-special attention.  Yes, when Anna is happy, she is the angel that everyone imagines that she is all the time.

Raising a child with Down syndrome is not always easy, but a being a parent in general is not easy.  The challenges are just different.  It can be very stressful at times when Anna does not cooperate, but I have no doubt that if Anna did not have Ds, then we would be dealing with a different set of problems.  At school right now, Anna is having some trouble because she is so stubborn. When she wants to do something, you can see how smart and capable she is.  But, when something is not on her agenda -- look out! She drops to the ground, screams, all-out temper tantrum.  (She does this at home as well, but the impact is a little different because she is not disrupting an entire classroom.)

So no, people with Ds are NOT happy all the time, but that is okay, because that means they are more alike than different.

And, as we are struggling with helping Anna learn appropriate behavior, we never lose sight of how special she is.  She won't let us.  She may be a little devil at times, but all you have to do is get one of her hugs to feel real love -- A love that can only come from someone with a pure heart and who has been (extra) blessed by God. A hug that says, "I love you for you, good and bad, and I wouldn't change a thing."  I can only hope my hugs say the same thing to her.

1 comment:

  1. Haha! I always laugh when I hear this one! My little guy does radiate happiness when he is happy. But boy oh boy, when he is upset, look out! :)