Friday, February 18, 2011

make me rich

I was driving the girls the other day and Poppy says out of no where "Mommy I want what Ola has."

I adjusted the rearview mirror so I could see what was going on in the backseat, thinking Poppy wanted one of Ola's toys.

"What do you want? Ola doesn't have anything...."

"Yeah Mama, Ola has something, Down system. The buddy walk. Ice skating. Down system..."

"Down syndrome? Poppy are you saying you want to have Down syndrome just like your sister?"

"Yeah..."

"Why?"

"Cause it's fun..."

"It is?"

"Yeah she has Buddy Walk, skating... lots of friends... Girl that brings new toys. It fun Mama..."

"Oh..." (insert awkward stare in the rearview, a tear and a a flurry of what do I say here.)

"Um... I don't think that you really want Ds.."

"No Mama I do!"

ok...hmm what am I going to say?... what to say...

"Well Poppy I bet if you ask Ola if she could be just like you she would say yes..."

"why?..." (seriously kid... you are killing me right now... don't let her see the tears, don't choke.)

"I think that Ola would want to be just like her big sister, she wouldn't want Ds. Poppy?... You can't have Ds... and you know what? You are lucky that you don't and that you are a big sister to a little girl that does."

"Why?"

"Because you get to help her whenever she needs it, and you get to be a helper and a best buddy to all her friends too."

"I do?"

"Yup, her friends are your friends. Her Buddy walk is your Buddy Walk too."

(Did it work?...)

"I get to help them? I get to be their friends?"

"Yup"

"Ok"

"Ok..." (wipe the tear, and take a breath. Phew... That was a tough one.)

Poppy is doing some major heart string pulling right now, and it is killing me. How do you talk about Down syndrome to a three year old?

How do you say that your child with Ds is "special" when your "typical" child is just as special? How do you tell them that they are going to grow up to be more compassionate, and more understanding of people with differing abilities because they have grown up immersed in it?

I remember thinking when Ola was first diagnosed about how her Ds would affect Poppy. It made me really sad. I instantly worried that opportunities were going to be taken away from her because of her sister. Ten months in and I think the exact opposite is happening.

She is being given more opportunities than her friends. She is learning at three what it means to be different, to be compassionate, patient,  and to be proud of who you are. Let your freak flag fly baby!

I am not going to lie and say that if there was some way I could turn back time and take the Ds away I wouldn't.

I would.

In a heartbeat.

But since we can't turn back time, we improvise. We come up with answers as we are driving down the street and we begin to see things differently. What I once worried was going to steal things away from her, I now know that it is only making her richer.

And I can't wait to see how rich she becomes. :)

Poor Ola... she can't do anything about her camera hog of a sister.

2 comments:

Amber said...

Ouch. That sounds like a very, very hard conversation.

But it also sounds like you handled it BEAUTIFULLY.

Laura said...

Oh, my dear mama friend! Thank you for sending me this link!

I am in tears. Dear sweet little precious Poppy. I love this conversation. I love how you spoke so gently to her. I for one can't wait to see how all of our kids will be when they are adults - what a gift they will be to their circles of influence. What precious gifts. Make me rich alright! This makes us all rich in many ways.

Bless you, dear soft-hearted Leanna. You are such a gem.