my niece’s Down’s Syndrome, that is; as a matter of fact, until someone brings it up, I forget about it. I thought about it quite a bit this weekend, though. It was the annual Buddy Walk, a walk sponsored by the National Down’s Syndrome Society. There is a chapter of FRIENDS (Friends Reaching and Inspiring Neighbors about Down’s Syndrome) that services Southwest VA and Northeast TN. It is through them that the Buddy Walk takes place each year. But, I digress.
I saw many children there, many who were the same age as Grace, some older others younger. I noticed many disabilities that I never give a second thought to because I haven’t had to confront them with Gracie. She does everything her sister does, sometimes even better, giving the impression that there is no disability. While surrounded by the children and their parents, I had to take a moment and wonder what they go through on a daily basis just to insure that their child can have a routine of sorts. Our biggest challenge is keeping up with Gracie as she is as fast as lightning and can be gone before you can say “Where’s Gracie?”. Maybe we should dress her in a red and white striped shirt and make a book about her.
At one point, I took her with me and let her jump in one of the air-filled things. What she really wanted to do was go down a slide that you had to climb up via little “foot pockets” to get to, kind of like the rock-climbing attractions at some malls. I made her wait so her daddy could with her.
As it turned out, she didn’t need anybody to go with her. She climbed up that thing like a monkey and never looked back, except when I was taking her picture because she is, irregardless of everything else, a ham. I was so proud of her and a bit disappointed in myself for not having enough confidence in her abilities even though I see them nearly every day.
There are many lessons I can learn from Gracie. I can learn to not know the meaning of can’t. I can learn that just because something is hard has no bearing on whether I can do it or not and that unless I try, I will never know. I can learn unconditional love that is blind to looks, color, demeanor, personality, social status, intelligence and the myriad of things that I roll my eyes at. She doesn’t see with her eyes, but with her heart. I think we could all use a bit more of that.
I thank God for both of my nieces and would lay down my life for either of them, but I thank Him especially for blessing our Gracie, for healing the hole in her heart, for fixing her kidney and for making her a grand example to all of us. God Bless you Gracie. You make me want to be a better person.
Romans 11:33 ~ O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!