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In the generously-topped heaping plate of Posts on Down syndrome I served you in October, I didn’t write of the Buddy Walk. The one “little” nugget that that everyone writes about, I somehow didn’t.

This is what happened: when we parked and walked in, I welled up, ready to bawl. Not for the reason that was mine the previous year, feeling sad in a sense that my child was a part of a cause, or from fear that my kid might/could/would/be *that* kid.
No, this year, it was because I realized that I checked my Guard with the car. That my reservations were down. I realized that somehow, somewhere along the way in the past year I have grown an armour and that no matter what, every time I enter a room, a place of typical development, I am on Guard, with those reservations. That it does not matter that I am so in love with my daughter, that I think she is bright and fun and gorgeous and smart and sparkly.
I am fully aware with every bit of my cannily observant deaf eyes how others see her.
And it makes me wary.
And the wariness makes me sad.
But not as sad it makes me when I feel myself unencumbered by the weight of Guard, finally grasping how heavy it really is.
That’s all I have to say about it.
***

Other than the tears, we had a whole lot of fun.

Micah (in red) having a BLAST

Moxie’s buddy from her program (who does not have Down syndrome) came, along with her Mama to support us and oh, that made me so happy! We met some new people and played with others we knew and had an all-round good time.

Moxie, in the crib of her new friend
lots and lots of people who love someone with Down syndrome
...and one more

We love you, Bunny.

 
***
What about you? Does this ever happen to you? I mean, do you ever become struck with the sudden knowledge that you’ve grown Guard?

Every year all over the US, Buddy Walks are held. The point of them is to raise funds and awareness for Down syndrome and provide a good time for everyone to boot.

 

Our local Connection had theirs yesterday and we went.

 

I have to be honest here: there was a part of me that wasn't sure if I was ready to go. It's one thing to be fine with Moxie having Ds and another thing to suddenly be with hundreds of completely different people with Ds. I had to sit down and have a talk with myself before we went about how every person is unique, both regular and extra-chromosomed. Moxie's life is hers ; not mine and not anyone else's. I cannot compare.

 

So we went.

 

When we stepped out of the car and started walking in, I felt overwhelmed and was struggling to control my tears. I had that feeling off and on through the whole day. I felt this sense of almost kinship with the other parents there, looked at all those kids with and without Ds and felt a tenderness towards them. You could be my own kids. Almost.

 

And Oliver was there!

 

Oliver was born 2 weeks before Moxie and I had met his Mommy when she and I were still pregnant.There is something very special about being pregnant at the same time as someone else, but it's even more special when you have both had a difficult time of it (she also knew before birth).

 

He is just the cutest little boy. And Moxie clearly is enthralled.

 

 

Here's another one, of the two of 'em. Ollie and Moxie. I just love saying that. Such a sweet zing.

 

 

We did the walk

 

 

..and ate… and smiled friendly smiles at a whole lot of people

 

 

and introduced ourselves (here is Micah, signing his name)

 

 

and took even more pictures. Because picture-taking is just *fun*

 

 

I was exhausted by it all – it's super hard for me to focus for that long on so many lips, trying to drown out the background noise. Exhausted too from all the emotions. But happy. I know this much is true: those were good people there. Good families, good parents. Terrific siblings. I feel honored that they've included us as a part of their tribe.
 
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