Thursday, September 27, 2012
A Harsh Reality.. In My Opinion
I've always had this thing about trying to make sure Sadie looked 'cute'. I have three older girls, so pretty dresses, cute hair styles, fashionable outfits is no new thing around the Teague home. But, with Sadie... I have found myself a bit more controlling about it. That doesn't mean I always succeed- especially those days I am literally sitting on Sadie's back and brushing her hair like a bad round of WWF. There has been the not so cute bangs, the very short bangs, the too short and tight shirts that caressed her Buddha belly, and the jeans that either a) are too short or b) are too big causing her to have a bad case of 'plumber butt'; but overall she leaves looking clean and cute.
I'm no fool! I know this is a case of pride and in the grand scheme of things is very worldly and her outfit will make her no better of a person. I've tried to loosen up- really I have. I know exactly why Sadie looking 'cute' is important to me. You know why too... Chances are you probably won't say it out loud. That would be awful and shallow.
Now, let's go back a week. I'm sitting in the first class of the school year at the Learning Program through our local Down Syndrome Association. The topic (not word for word) was basically 'How to have a successful relationship with your child's school'. To say I was overwhelmed with all the information being pelted in our direction would be an understatement. I made a few notes under the 'if I ever get super powers' category. Great ideas, support, and action plans for being that approachable and easy to work with mama. Then, like it was an after thought, the presenter says something like 'You always want your kids to look good. Don't think you can always shop at target. Go buy the nice surf shirt- Heck, I spend more money on his clothes than I do mine. If you think people want to work with someone who is not nicely groomed... think again. Sometimes I see a child and think- that would look dorky on a kid without Down Syndrome. Please don't wear that!'
Your probably thinking... wow, lady- harsh! Because that is the PC thing to do. The 'everyone is a child of God and we are all beautiful in the inside' thing to do. I wish that was what I was thinking; but it wasn't. I was like, "Amen sister! I am a believer." Yeah, I'm embarrassed. I like to think 'I don't judge a book by it's cover'. I like to think I look in the inside and embrace a person's soul. Why then, do I feel so strongly about my Sadie 'looking cute'?
BECAUSE.... that's why. Because, people do like working with nice looking people. Because, kids like to have friends that look cool. Because, I don't want shallow people to only see DS when they see my Sadie... BECAUSE she is so much more! Because, no matter what I believe about everyone being a child of God and everyone being equal in His eyes... THE WORLD DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY!
Just yesterday, I was picking up Sadie from a church activity. A friend I have known all of Sadie's life was sharing some observations she had while teaching the girls how to exercise. Basically she said Sadie is so cute (over and over) and then shared with me that her son and daughter-in-law (in her late 30's) have not had a child yet. Because of her age she has a higher risk for having a child with DS. She then said after watching Sadie (and other Down's kids- her words don't slam me) she sees how easy going and loving they are (haha, easy going- what?). Then she said, "it wouldn't be so bad. It would be nice. Not that I would ever wish for it; but it would be good if it happened". Before you get all DS advocate on her- she was honest, loving, and she has not made the journey we have... so I took it as a compliment; because I truly believe that is where it was coming from. Anyway, until yesterday because she had never worked directly with her... all she knew of Sadie was how cute she was dressed on Sunday, how cute she looked singing infront of the congregation, and how much we adored her.
I think my daughter shared a good example of what I am trying to say. She had a friend in school who had a deformed hand. My daughter is no stranger to accepting others and how the differences in others do not define who they are. However, a couple of weeks ago she said, 'Mom, she is so cool. For the longest time all I could think about was her hand. Now that I know her... I hardly remember her hand.'
I wish everyone knew my Sadie for who she really is. She is funny, smart, stubborn, kind, loving, crazy, and compassionate. Unfortunately, that is not who a majority of the world sees when they first meet her. Too many see Down Syndrome. Until they can peel the layers and get to know the real Sadie... I'm going to play the game and dress her cute!