Monday, October 27, 2014

31 for 21: Following

Keeping a closer eye on the internet's Down syndrome community this month means that I've caught a few references to an article written by a mother of a 50-year old with Ds.  According to the headline, even today, she thinks abortion would have been an easier road than raising her son.

I haven't clicked that link.  Maybe because the sensational headline feels like click-bait.  Maybe because I'm not sure what there is for me to learn from someone harboring that sort of regret.  Maybe because the whole issue is so seeped in politics that I don't trust the internet to contain such sadness.  Maybe because I don't want to revel in self-righteousness after reading a short statement out of a life I have not lived.

But I did click on this link, this response.  And I'm glad I did.  It's an incredibly well-written reminder of how difficult it is to walk in another mother's shoes.  And it's a reminder to all of us touched by disability to remember the debt we owe to previous generations.

I'm thankful for those who went before us.  Who made it possible for me to bring my son home, who opened the doors of our neighborhood school, who insisted that he has a place as an adult in our community.  They didn't always know they were pioneers at the time.  Like most of us, they were just stumbling along trying to do the best they could for their kids.  Often while the world around them was telling them that their kid didn't deserve the best.

Someday, perhaps, I will be more open myself to hearing the stories of the parents who sent their children away.  For now, I am thankful for the parents -- sometimes flawed and all-too-human -- who made my son's road, and by extension my road, a bit wider.

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