Wednesday, November 21, 2007

At The Metro Center

There were four of them. Mom and Dad and two kids. Both kids had disabilities. One with Down Syndrome, and the other in a wheelchair with cerebral palsy. They were sitting at a table at Wetherspoons - an awesome restaurant with reasonable priced food and a large vegetarian selection. I had already made a nuisance of my self by asking a guy if he'd move to a table further in because my wheelchair couldn't make it to the available table. He didn't want to, but he did, and I thanked him for it.

It was chock a block in the mall and Joe went to place the order. Beside me were a young couple, in thier early twenties I'd guess. They looked upset to be stuck between two disabled kids on one side and me on the other. Deal with it. In the end the lost interest in me but kept glancing at the other table.

At first their conversation was solely about the relationship between adults and children. Were they biological parents to the two kids, were they adoptive parents, were they paid carers on an outing? This debate took on a zeal of it's own. They were deep into this conversation. Luckily those at the other table didn't seem to notice. They were laughing, having fun, getting food all over and finding it hilarious. The young man with Down Syndrome had a very serious level of disability but he caught the humour and the mood of the table and every now an then a loud unrestrained and unrefined laugh burst out.

Finally the two decided that given hair colour and other cues, the two adults were probably parents. That didn't end the discussion. The woman said, "Can you imagine having another child when the first one turned out ... bad like that?" Boyfriend heartily agreed. They then dove into a genetics discussion that was frightening in the calmness with which they spoke of using genetics to search and destroy.

All the while a family, because that's what it was, was having a delightful lunch together. Goodness knows those two parents work hard to care for those two kids. Goodness knows that they probably have few opportunities to just sit and relax and enjoy. Goodness knows the goodness they have discovered in themselves and others.

I wonder about the baby this couple may one day have.

And worry for it's future.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhcZRFcjbhw

It's not related to your post, but I don't know any other way to reach you -- I thought you might appreciate this video of a DS man singing the nat'l anthem @Fenway Park, with a sign interpreter as well and with the entire park's attendees support.

Ashley's Mom said...

My children with disabilities have been one of the greatest joys of my life. I am a better person because of them. I, too, worry about the young couple you observed. They have no idea what they are missing.

Mieke said...

It is my experience that disabled childen invite you to a very special kind of love, and give it to you in return, intensely, and that nothing on earth matches this ...happiness, this particular, truthful joy.

rickismom said...

What worries me is a whole society so caught up in thinking that everything has to be perfect, and if it isn't, than it is worthless.

Kei said...

Sad that the young couple have not discovered the joys that someone like my son can bring to life.

Anonymous said...

It is a very special kind of love and it's sad that some people may never experience it because they can't see past the nose on their faces.

Anonymous said...

I'll take "interesting" over "perfect" any day...

Stephanie said...

My children are my joy. One is "normal" (whatever that is) and the other has DS. Right now my youngest (ds) son's biggest "dis"ability is being a boy. Whew!anyway wanted to leave you with a link from the DSA of Cinncinati. They have produced a video for new and expectant parents of children with DS. Great video. Would be a great alternative to the usually downer attitude when the news is delivered.
http://www.dsagc.com

And as always Dave, you give me hope and inspiration that my children will grow up in a better world, a more educated world when it comes to enveloping, including and loving those who are different.
Pleasant & safe travels while you are across the "pond."

Nephesh said...

I love what one Anonymous said...

"I'll take "interesting" over "perfect" any day..."

I agree wholeheartedly.

Anonymous said...

Dave I read you blog all the time usually at lunch and in chunks...and I might get a blasted for this but I think I understand that couple. I work for an amazing organization here in the States that does incredible work with people with various disabilities, you've consulted with us several times and commented I’m scared about what having a child with a disability would mean. I know that parenting is difficult, I wasn’t disabled and neither were my brothers and we gave my mom hell in spades but I look at the people we support, at the success stories and that’s still not the life I would want for my kid…I believe as an agency we work hard to ensure that people’s lives are rich and full and as unfettered as possible but I want more. There are still way too many people who have fallen through the cracks at one time or another people who have been abused and mistreated and marginalized. I know that things are getting better and that there is remarkable progress being made, but I’m still scared…and it’s not just about disability, I’m African American, a lesbian and my partner’s white I’m scared about what all that means for my kids as well. Society is becoming much more open and accepting, but oppression and prejudice are still very real and quite frankly I don’t want to spend my life fighting for normal, for a fair shake, trying to protect my kids from a world designed to make them feel inadequate. Maybe I’m young and na├»ve but I just want more…

Anonymous said...

ok so i goofed in the previous post it should read...I work for an amazing organization here in the States that does incredible work with people with various disabilities, you've consulted with us several times and commented on the wonderful work we do and the dedication of our direct service staff. But I’m scared about what having a child with a disability would mean.