December 13, 2016


I've often said how grateful I am that my buddy has a disability that is right there in his DNA. We don't have to prove anything in order to get the services he needs and people can look at him and not expect him to be like every other kid.

It makes some things easier - like when a couple of kids build a huge tower out of foam blocks and my buddy body slams it before I can stop him - the dad isn't mad. Of course my buddy has to apologize and see if they want help fixing what he ruined. The kids are still pissed but the dad can see my buddy's disability all over his face and I am relieved not to have him be angry with me.

Or when my buddy goes right up to the two skateboarding dudes and stands right between them. They can't understand anything he says, but they are so patient with him.

It also makes some things harder. The lower expectations make it harder to live up to your potential. I want my buddy to be a shining example of what a child with Down syndrome can be when we are out. I want people to see how funny he is and how loved. My buddy is rarely at his best in public. More often than not, he is growling at me or shouting 'NO'.

Then I get 'the look'. Man how I hate that look. Sometimes it's pity. Other times relief that he's not their kid. It's the one time I am grateful I can't read people's minds. I know I can't make everyone fall in love with my buddy and I can't single handedly change how everyone perceives people with Down syndrome. I just hope that somewhere along the way, my buddy can win over a heart or two.

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