Today was the first time a stranger asked, point blank, if Rowenna has Down syndrome.
Woah. That was a strange feeling. I am totally aware that my child has Down syndrome and has some of the physical characteristics. When I look at her, I just don’t see it but I know they are there and others see them. Over the last 15 weeks, we have spent the majority of time with people who know her diagnosis and while out and about she rides around snuggled up in her Moby so strangers haven’t really had a good look at her yet.
I knew this was coming but it didn’t make it any less strange. I answered with a polite “yes” and moved on, but boy did I want to say more than that. It’s not that I’m offended that people notice, it’s that I’m annoyed that anyone feels this is worth mentioning. To me, it is like saying “Gee, you have two legs” like this is something important to notice. Down syndrome is just something that she has, something that is part of her. It isn’t who she is. And really, what is the benefit of confirming your suspicion that she has Down syndrome? This is truly confusing to me.
On the flipside, I’d rather people approach and ask questions and maybe learn something new about Down syndrome. There are a lot of misconceptions and bad information out there. If I can help someone see what Down syndrome means today, that would be great.