Friday, February 18, 2011

Down Syndrome Fact Friday–How Do You Deal?

Last week, someone started their conversation with “can I ask you something personal about your son?”.

Most of the time, I know what this is leading to.

She had just met Cody the previous week. She knew nothing about his history, diagnosis or anything so I had an idea where this was going.

She then said “I don’t mean this the wrong way, but is there something wrong with your son?

“He has Down Syndrome, if that is what you’re asking.”

She comes from a different culture and had no idea what Down Syndrome was so I explained it to her.

“Can I ask you another question?”

“Of course".”

“What do you think when you look at him"?”

I have NEVER been asked that question before. Knowing she meant no harm or disrespect with her question, I told her that I saw nothing but love, innocence and my son.

“Does everything that come with Down Syndrome ever get to you? How do you deal?”

Knowing that she has medical issues that she was dealing with, I know that she asked this as a means of finding out ways to cope with her own issues.

I told her that I know she doesn’t see a light at the end of her tunnel and that is what is stopping her from enjoying life now. Stopping her from enjoying the present, the every day moments. 

She asked me how I manage to always have a smile on my face.

I don’t know. I think I am just programmed that way. :)

Honestly, though, after going through the heart surgery, the hospitalization for bronchiolitis and everything in between and after, I think if I hadn’t been able to smile through it all, I would be broken.

No one teaches you the internal mechanism for coping with stress or depression. They can counsel you until they are blue in the face, but for me, the only way to cope with situations is to accept it and move forward with a positive outlook.

She asked if there were times where I feel drained. Bet your bottom dollar, I do. I’m a mom not superwoman. ;)  The anxiety of not being able to control situations that are currently non-existent is draining. It is almost a daily battle in my head to remind myself that I need to stop worrying about conflicts that I am not even facing (for example, worrying about Cody’s kindergarten experience – if it will be stressful for him – when I know it will be more stressful for me than him and he will just be happy to be at school active with his friends). 

In the end, I purposely surround myself with people with the same positive outlook that I have for my family and life. Smiling and laughing are the best medicines for my soul and I hope that soon, my friend will realize the same for herself.


Amy said...

Well said my friend! And a good reminder for the rest of us. EVERYONE has issues in life... DS or not. Parenting is hard regardless. We have the bounus of little guys that are SOOOOO happy and so full of love! :-)

Jackie F. said...

You are truly an inspiration to all of us Michelle!! I love the way you look at life, and Cody is very lucky to have been blessed with such a wonderful mom...and I know, that you know you are blessed to be his mommy.

The Girl in the zebra pumps said...

First of all I would like to say Hello ... and thank you for coming to my blog... if you hadn't it might have taken me much longer to find yours.
I had to sit here and think for a moment on what I had to say. I LOVE HOW YOU HANDLED THIS. Period.
And it has now given me something to blog about in a minute. As long as you don't mind. Funny I just see my kiddo as Gabriel. Sure he has Down syndrome, but I just see my son. I mean yeah at first I saw the DS, but it was just a part of the whole of him. It's hard for us because we just get used to what we have to deal with and look at it as typical parenting and motherhood. It's all in a days work. But I tell ya there are days where my two older typical kids (14 yrs old and 22 yrs old) are more difficult than my little man. So thank you so much for sharing.

A new friend...

Laura said...

...And that's why I love you! You and Cody inspire me!

atorgesen said...

Well said, Sista!

Michelle R. Slape said...

So true, Amy! Our guys make it easy to deal with stress when they flash those huge smiles at us! :)

THANK YOU, JACKIE! Thank you for the sweet words. They put a smile on my face!

Welcome to the blog, Bobbie!! I am happy you stopped by!! :) And I can't wait to see your upcoming blog post on this topic. ;)

LOVE YOU TOO, Laura!! Hope we can see each other soon!

Thank you, Allison!!!! LOVE your profile pic!