Among many interesting online conversations is an ongoing debate over whether or not our daughter is an angel. I’m ready to make my case.
Perhaps you need some backstory? Well, to be fair, the debate is not centered around Hope, but rather how some of the commonly shared traits of Down syndrome might elevate those with DS above much of the pettiness and greed in our world. Where calling someone an angel was once a term of endearment has evolved into what many feel is a mounting pressure to dismiss that a person with DS is a person like any other, with a range of emotions and human flaws.
We throw around words all the time, using hyperbole to force others to understand in the flicker of a moment the feelings we have spent days, months, even years cultivating. We don’t always mean what we say, and parsing language can often be an exercise in futility. I guess sometimes our minds just need the exercise, so here we go…
I believe Hope is a human, and I believe she is good. Is mankind so bad that we believe the only explanation of the good ones is that they couldn’t possibly be one of us? And when we come across a good one, are we telling God, “Hey, we love your angel friends, they’re beautiful. But you did a crap job with the humans!”?
I don’t think God did a crap job with the humans, but I do think he might have done a better job with those who have Down syndrome. Hope shines a special light on everyone she sees because she has a special talent of connecting with other people, which I don’t expect she’ll lose as she grows older. I guess this must be where people get confused on the angel vs not angel debate.
Maybe she’s a little better connected to heaven than the rest of us, as many young children seem to be, but she is human, and through inclusion she will show her school, our town, and whoever continues to read At Her Own Pace that we can lead good lives and be good people. And we don’t need to be angels to do it.
And on a separate note, tomorrow kicks off Down Syndrome Awareness Month and we will have a feature in the Bergen County Moms newsletter on October 3, so there’s time to sign up if you’d like to receive it in your inbox THIS Thursday!!