Yesterday I almost left my son behind in the dance studio cafe.
I was busy. Chatting to the dance teacher about how my daughter is doing in dance class. Chatting to other mums about how much we love the dance class for our girls. How much they enjoy it. How good it is for their confidence. The chatting moved into a “walk and talk” and as I descended the staircase, heading for the front door, I suddenly remembered I had left Noah sitting upstairs in the studio cafe.
Contrary to the reaction most parents might have, I get some satisfaction from these moments.
This may seem like a strange response to a slightly irresponsible act of parenting but the point is, I was not thinking about Noah. I was not thinking about whether he was OK. I was not thinking he would take off down the hall or jump out a window, climb the bookcase or disappear out of the building.
I was not thinking about Down Syndrome. I was not wondering if the other kids are playing with my little boy. I was not wondering if parents are looking at him or that he may be having trouble expressing himself.
There was a time that I thought this type of normality would not happen. When I heard the words “Down Syndrome” for the first time after Noah was born, I thought that was all I would think of from this moment on. That all our carefree thoughts would be replaced with new less happy thoughts. That we would spend our time talking about Down Syndrome, about fears, anxieties, what to do next. I thought our blue sky would always be a little bit more grey.
But none of this is true.
I take huge pleasure now in normal stuff. I love strolling around the supermarket with our shopping list as Noah helps me to find what we need, driving around in the car singing at the top of our lungs to some incredibly tedious children’s CD, running on the beach in the wind, taking the kids swimming, strolling to school and greeting people on the way down the hill. I love playing with lego, reading books, hanging out together in front of a movie.
I love all of these overwhelmingly normal activities because there was a moment I thought I would not have them anymore.
When you have a child with Down Syndrome, yes some adjustments take place. Some of the expectations you may have had for your child will change. You have some conversations you thought you would never have and you miss some of the conversations you expected to have. You have obstacles to overcome and you will cry along the way.
But its not such a big deal. It does not take over life as you knew it. In fact life pretty much goes on as before only in our case, we laugh a lot more then we thought we would, we take ourselves a lot less seriously, we enjoy the simple things in life and yes from time to time we forget our kids in the local cafe.