Wednesday, March 30, 2011

3

Have you ever actually seen a good decision?

I have.

And she was beautiful. She came into the room smiling. They all knew each other, having grown up together and gone to school together. They called her name out as she entered. Just as she would call out the names of others that came after her. "Sit here," "Sit here," "Sit here," was called to her as three different hands patted the chair next. She chose instead to come up front, "I want to be able to see the movie," she said. She had instantly noticed that Joe was testing out the dvd in the television. Throughout the training she laughed, she participated, she encouraged. At one point when the movie started and on screen a woman with Down Syndrome introduces herself as one of the trainers, she puts her hands over her mouth in shock. A quiet tear runs down her cheek. This she did not expect. Her identification with the presenter, her willingness to learn, her strong social network indicates that this is a woman living fully. A woman with Down Syndrome with a quality life. I know, in my heart that she is more than that. She is someone's active and difficult decision.

It was a good decision.

Have you ever actually talked with a good decision?

I have.

And it was fascinating.

He was telling me that he was recently married and finding the adjustment to married life a little more difficult than he had thought. "I have never had to listen so much in my life!" he says with deadpan seriousness. Then to make sure he's not misunderstood, "I really love her though, I really am glad to be married." He willingly shares of his life. Some of it has been extremely hard. The bullying, the name calling, has been and still is a major obstacle to living freely. He and his wife are careful where they go. There are some places, he says, that are just not safe. But they have neighbours who are nice, they have people around them who they enjoy, they have friends and family who support them fully. He works part time at a job he enjoys and he and his wife cook meals together every evening. That's his favourite part of the day. A guy with a disability who hasn't let the social violence of prejudice get in the way of a quality life, a guy who refuses to sink into sadness nor silence about these issues. He and his wife are in self advocacy to help make the world a better place. He too, was a difficult decision. And a very good one.

Have you ever been in awe of a good decision?

I have and it was inspiring.

Stubby fingers hand me a picture of a photograph. It is of Mother and Son. She is elderly, he is much younger. She looks at him, sees his difference, yet love pours out of her eyes. He is looking at the camera. Like he doesn't need to look at his mother to know that she is smiling, that she is loving him. He is fully confident of her love. Her face shows that she has 'the knowing' too. This boy, the one with Down Sydrome, loves her too. Whatever journey they had that led to this picture being taking was a long one. We all know that. And it began with a decision. A very good decision.

I have seen and talked with and felt in awe of the good decisions of others. I wish somehow they could know that their decision and their journey has enriched us all. We all benefit. These are lives that needed to be lived. These are people who needed to be here. These are those who we would never know that we missed, but we would have still missed them. Good decisions make the world a better place. In one day I met three good decisions. And for each of them, I am truly grateful.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, beautiful post. Thank you.

Jan said...

Dave this post was beautiful. I have again passed your Blog link on to others. Some parents and some self advocates themselves. Good decisions are all around us and it takes people like you to point them out to us. Thanks again for a great start to my day.

Joyfulgirl said...

wow that's wonderful. how uplifiting. Thanks.

Sharon said...

Asolutely love today's blog Dave. I loved how you talked about your experience with the decisions. This is one I will keep with me for a long time.

Tamara said...

Nice one -

My Girls R Angels said...

Thank you, Dave, for another beautiful post. There are so many who need to read this and I will share your wisdom again today. Thank you!

krlr said...

This was ...hard to read. My daughter has DS. Yes, we knew before she was born. Yes, I am adamantly pro-choice. No, I did not consider her a --decision--. Certainly not after she started kicking. But the numbers testify many many people do. I'll also admit that this just exposed the weakness & contradictions in my own political position as the VERY first thing that flashed in my head was the "other side’s" bumper sticker [The "It's a child..." one]. Also conceding the sole source of my ambivalence is an adorable, adventurous, not quite 3 year old. Much to ponder.

Nan said...

tears. thanks. good decisions DO abound and we are graced by them.

Valle said...

Another beautiful post...the only sentence I would change (as one of those mothers) is this:

"She looks at him, sees his difference, *yet* love pours out of her eyes."

I'd say: "She looks at him, sees his difference, AND love pours out of her eyes."

The difference is part of who he is, it's the part that has opened our eyes and hearts in ways we never thought possible.

cynicalbeauty said...

I love this post. We would have missed them. It's important to remember that each and every life is equal, each and every person has the power to change the world, the lives of those around them, just by living that life.

Thanks for reminding us.

Kristin said...

Absolutely beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Lovely post today. Thank you for bringing some sunshine into a bleary, rainy day.

Nancy I. said...

Love this post Dave

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much

Sonia Connolly said...

I have seen many people make good decisions, choosing their best option with the information they have at the time. I have never met anyone, with or without a disability, who "is" a decision, good or otherwise.

I'm glad the people you met are alive. I'm glad they're happy. I disagree that their happiness reflects on their mothers' quality of decision-making when choosing to carry a pregnancy to term.

Blog editor said...

Perhaps the "decision" doesn't refer to continuing a pregnancy - none of the people described might have been born in an era of readily available prenatal testing and diagnosis. Maybe the decisions were about families raising a child at home in his own family, being able to choose to marry, allowing yourselves to be part of each other's lives, living life ordinarily in one's community, being visible.

I do agree with Valle, Dave - I would say "and" in place of "yet" now, although it took me a while to get there.

Declan and I could be the mother and son in the photo - it's a great joy to have "the knowing". Different decisions at several times (none of them prenatal, as it happens) could have prevented that, and it would have been a great loss.

Jill

Dave Hingsburger said...

Thanks a lot for the comments. I will admit that I spent a lot of time re reading what I wrote and decided to leave it as it was written. I understand the difference between 'and' and 'yet' and I believe I used the word that I was meaning. I think 'yet' here is more powerful. But I understand the debate. I've things to say about the 'decision' comments but will wait to see what others have to say. On a blog read round the world, there are several time zones yet to come.

Andrea S. said...

Lovely post.

I, too, probably would have chosen to say "And" rather than "Yet."

I think I understand where the "no one 'is' a decision" comments may be coming from (or maybe I'm missing it?) but ... I think it depends on what perspective you're looking at it from. Every one of us is the result of a long series of decisions made by other people before we were born, as well as a long series of more serendipitous events beyond anyone's control. A pair of people may have decided to get married (with or without considering future children). Then decided to have a baby ... then made a series of decisions related to that, such as pursuing infertility treatments (if such were needed) or making decisions about whether to have a baby now versus three years from now after Milestone X is over (a degree, a two-year stint in the peace corps, whatever). Got pregnant. Decided to test or not test for Down Syndrome and various other things that might be a risk. Had the baby. Raised the baby in certain ways according to a long series of decisions related to that ...

We are all products of decisions made both by others and (once we're born) by ourselves.

Lene Andersen said...

Dave, darhlink... I love the new look of the blog, it's really dynamic. Only problem is that stripes like that are a migraine trigger. Would you mind considering something less... erm... stripey?

Melissa said...

While I love all your posts, this is another one that will remain in my head and my heart.

I would have to agree with the 'and' word choice though. To me, 'yet' sounds like the love is there in spite of Down syndrome. When people question us having C, I have told them that we don't love her because she has Ds, or in spite of it, we just love her.

As for the decisions, while a prenatal decision is a big one, there are so many decisions, good and bad, that get us to this exact place in our lives. And we can never tell which decision led to our good decision.

Anonymous said...

This post is a very touching post, it shows people that nothing should stop you and you should go on with your life no matter what and be strong and continue the decisions that you want.