Friday, 8 February 2013

High Hopes

When Mickey and I were dating, Mickey had a motorcycle.  He loved it, and me...not so much.  I mean I liked watching HIM on it, but I wasn't that big on being a passenger.  It just wasn't very comfortable at all.  It was a sport bike so the passenger was always slightly higher then the driver, plus the passenger would get squished up against the driver whenever the bike came to a stop.

Yeah, not very comfortable in my eyes.  I mean, I LOVED being close to Mickey, but being thrown up against him as the bike came to a halt...not so much.

The one thing that I did enjoy, however, was the spirit of community that those who owned bikes seemed to have.  Whenever another biker passed us going the other way there would be an automatic "wave" by each biker as they passed one another.  It always made me smile.

After having Stella I thought that we were a part of a club, a family  I figured that whenever we came across another family with a family member who just happened to rock an extra chromosome, I thought, just like those that owned bikes, that in passing, there would be a smile, a wave, a nod....something.

So far I have not experienced that.

Today while I was at the hospital with Stella (she was there for an echocardiogram, which I will blog about another day) a young girl and her mom came into the waiting area.  This young girl was about 12, had beautiful blonde hair and just happened to have Down Syndrome. I looked at her mom  and smiled at her as she walked by with her daughter.  Like those bikers passing each other on the street, I was expecting a smile back.  A "hey club member" smile.  Instead I got nothing. No smile, no nothin.  She just kept on walking.

I was crushed. I felt so alone at that minute. I wasn't expecting to become best friends with this family but I was just hoping for a "Hi, how are you? What's your little girl's name? She is so cute. This is my daughter..." you get the idea.

At first I thought that maybe she didn't see me smile and I figured that once she sat down and glanced over she'd start a conversation.  As I was thinking this I also realised that I was facebook friends with this woman!!!! Seriously, when I first had Stella my home based development worker gave my name to all of the families who had a child with Down Syndrome, and this woman "friended" me.  She even sent me a message!    So I thought for sure once we were siting there, across from one another that she would say something to me.  I had already attempted contact and honestly I just felt so deflated that I could not muster up the nerve to put myself out there again.

But......nothing. Not once did she look over and smile at Stella.  Not once did she smile at me.

I have had this happen before.  I was at Edo with all three of my girls having lunch and sat RIGHT NEXT to another family who's daughter had Down Syndrome, and smile, no nothin!

I was not expecting to become friends with these families. I just wanted to feel like I wasn't alone, that even though Stella is younger then their child, that even though we don't know one another, that we were/are still a "family".

Perhaps I was too naive in that belief.  Perhaps it is the culture of this small town I live in.  

 I don't know.

All I know is that when Stella is older and I run into a mom with her little boy or girl who has Down Syndrome, I will smile, I will say "hi", and if they are open to it, I will walk over and talk to them.


  1. Is she still FB friends? :) That's odd. Especially since she messaged you!

    1. yes, she and I are still facebook friends. She sent me a message with Stella was first born, but I have never heard from her since. Perhaps she doesn't get any of my pictures in her news feed.

  2. Aw, I think that's pretty sad. And what's sadder is you actually were friends with her on FB! When Russell was born I felt I had the only kid with Ds on the planet...I had never seen another child with Ds so I felt pretty alone. So when other parents come over to me to say hi real quick, or even just give me a smile in passing...It means a lot.
    Who knows though, maybe that woman was just having a bad day or something, you never know. All I know is I like it when other parents come over to me to say hi, so that's what I try to do also.

    I just realized how often I used the word "Know" in my comment! lol

    1. Yeah, I was trying really hard not to take it personally, but when it happens more then once it's hard not to get a "complex". Perhaps she was having a bad day, but I honestly think that this is the way it is here in Medicine Hat. The special needs community here in basically non existent. People literally just keep to themselves. Such a shame!

      LOL! I just reread your response! Yes, there are a lot of "know". lol

  3. Oh Anna,
    That is awful:(
    I am so sorry...and I can honestly say that so far, I have not had the same reaction here in Calgary. Everyone I've run into has been super amazing and have totally made us feel like "part of the club". And I know I've said it before, but the next time you are around here, we'd love to meet you:)
    PS. You should come for the "Wonder Years" conference in a couple of'd probably get to meet a bunch of us:)

    1. Like I said to Jenny, family's who have kids with special needs tend to keep to themselves, literally!! I wish I lived in a bigger city just for that reason! When I took Stella up to the Children's Hospital last July for a sleep study, I had a woman talk to us immediately and gush over Stella and then continue to tell us about her daughter (who was 18 and not with her). It felt so good!

      I am going to look into the Wonder Years Conference! I would love to meet some other families! I'd love to meet you!!

  4. Anna, I am so so sorry. We have always done the "wave, smile, nod" and sometimes even exchange the "who's your ST? Where did you go to school?". Clearly, the signs are screaming "MOVE TO AUSTIN". All kidding aside, I am really sorry that this happened. I have always felt like we are members of this special club where normal social boundaries are knocked down. Where it is completely normal and even expected to do the nod, wave, hi. Of course, when I dont' have Ellie with me, I have to remember to reign myself back a bit and then say that my daughter is a member of DSACT because it might just look like I am staring at their kiddo!