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...a sweatshop of moxie

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Very Emotional

I'm just about to turn in for the night, when I decided to take a look around the Blogosphere for a blogpost nightcap for the readership.

That's when I found this touching clip via MSNBC (shockingly enough, although please note it's a Brian Williams NBC newscast segment). It's a report showing the effects Governor Palin has on children and parents of those with Down Syndrome.

You have seen Sarah Palin at her Barracuda feistiest during all 6 of these weeks. But have you ever seen her visibly choke up?

(Via Redstate)

I have a confession to make.

My single greatest fear was having a child with educational challenges. Physical challenges? No problems. It's the mind that I worried about.

I wouldn't love him or her any less, I have no doubt. But in such a high-powered family as mine, where there are graduate degrees dripping from both branches like maple syrup, my parent's expectations of me were based on being the brightest kid in my class, bar none. I can say with as much humility as I can muster when patting myself on the back so visibly..., that I know I never failed them in this respect.

But I also know that life often has ironies in store for people who so emphasise aspects of it. E.g.: If you're a racist, you can be sure that someone in your family will marry into the race you hate. It's Fate's little joke on you, and you know what? Maybe you deserve it for your attitude.

So I worry, especially as I get older. Will I be able to possibly face the challenges of a child with Down Syndrome? Will I be strong, and stick to my religious beliefs to carry the child to term?

When I was attending the 11th grade here in America, my school expected all juniors to volunteer as part of their after-school activities. You didn't have to, unlike Senator Obama's proposals for future youth "volunteerism", but I decided to anyway. I spent some time at the Lighthouse for the Blind, and I also helped out in an adult Down Syndrome facility.

I learnt that people with these disabilities are exactly the same as all other human beings. They can be sneaky, mean, disagreeable as well as utterly loving, honest, and gracious.

But, I confess again, still I worried.

Enter Governor Palin.

When she came unto the scene, I was, of course, elated. A heroine for my time. Someone who walked that proverbial walk so many people find difficult to reconcile simply because they are human, and sometimes get scared. They're not bad. They're just fragile. Could I be one of them?

But when she showed the world Trig Palin in her arms, I found myself re-examining my thoughts on the matter.

Yes, it's true.

The simple act of carrying her son in her arms that week of August 29th, allowed me to enter into an introspective dialogue within myself. That's when I realised that (a) I'll cross that bridge if and when I come to it (b) my child will be precious to me no matter what.

A child isn't a convenience that you can discard at will, especially because it "fails" our standards of perfection in some way.

This is 2008, not 1008.

We've advanced sufficiently so that every human being can realise its potential...especially if they have an intelligent parent who can help their child to do so.

That's when I realised that God put this ex-Headgirl on this earth not to worry if her child will not be an academic go-getter, but that He gave her those brain cells to USE them to come up with solutions.

My fancy educational degree is of no use to anyone, if its bearer is a narrow-minded, dismissive human being who just cares about her ego and what people will think of her children.

So you know, come what may, God willing I will use the brains God gave me, and open my heart to any of life's circumstances.

If nothing else, this is one of Governor Palin's gifts to me personally.

The gift of example.

Labels: ,


  • It's brave of you to admit this.

    Man in his best state is altogether vanity.

    And in some ways, the highly intelligent are especially susceptible to a particular kind of vanity.

    But all children are different and challenging in their own way.

    By Blogger blake, at Sat Oct 18, 05:09:00 am GMT-4  

  • This was lovely, Vic. You're an admirable lady, for reasons other than just your intelligence.

    I'll admit to having had similar fears myself, despite my own congenital defect. Seeing Gov. Palin with Baby Trig has made them melt away. God gives us the strength we need, if we don't close our hearts to it.

    By Blogger Bekah, at Sat Oct 18, 02:58:00 pm GMT-4  

  • This is 2008, not 1008.

    True, but when your time comes, I hope you are blessed with an old fashioned King’s choice , perfect in every way.

    By Blogger chickenlittle, at Sat Oct 18, 05:00:00 pm GMT-4  

  • A great post, and I second every word of it.

    I do have to admit that I had an LOL moment when I read "ex-Headgirl"...

    ...It took me a moment to realize that you meant what we in the States call a valedictorian...

    I have to confess that it wasn't even close to the meaning of the term that first occurred to me...

    Just thought you might get a chuckle out of that yourself :)

    By Blogger Jim, at Sat Oct 18, 05:52:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Nice post.

    My entire career has been spend supporting families with children and adults with special needs. I've loved every minute of of it. For me, normal has become Downs Syndrome, while more significantly disabling syndromes are special needs. My husband's best friend is DS. After I while you just don't notice the 'difference' any more.

    Last year while waiting for my husband to exit from the arrivals lounge at the airport a woman came and stood beside holding a little girl Downs baby. Adorable! I couldn't help myself from gushing, 'Oh you're so lucky'. The look on her face said it all. I was afraid she would think me thoughtless or that I was being facetious, but she knew exactly what I meant and responded, 'yes, I am.'

    I hope however, that an OT is involved with Trig. He has bad muscle tone which need not be a big deal as long as someone is showing the family some simple exercises and strategies that will help strengthen his body. It's never too early to start.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Oct 18, 05:54:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Thor, I can't recall which mag it was, but I read an article a few weeks ago in which Gov. Palin specifically mentioned Trig's poor muscletone and said he'd just started OT.

    By Blogger Bekah, at Sat Oct 18, 06:22:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Bekah:

    That is good to hear.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Oct 18, 07:03:00 pm GMT-4  

  • So you know, come what may, God willing I will use the brains God gave me, and open my heart to any of life's circumstances.

    Very early on in my career I worked with an amazing couple who just wouldn't give up. She was a neurosurgeon and he a dentist. I met them shortly after the birth of their fourth son. Every son had been born with autism that was significantly more disabling for each son. It was heart breaking. They were desperate and couldn't believe the odds. (Certainly speaks to the issue of a genetic condition). Finally, their fifth child was a girl, of normal intelligence and function.

    I've long since lost contact with the family and moved from the area but I often wonder about the daughter. Did she excel academically, or drop out at an early age to live on a farm and raise kittens or something equally non competitive. Life can be very strange sometimes.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Oct 18, 07:17:00 pm GMT-4  

  • I have a friend who is quite smart and her husband has a PhD in Physics [he is a rocket scientist!] and their middle child has Down.

    One of my girls had a pretty severe bleed on her brain. The NICU docs were setting me up for CP and mental retardation. Never materialized and I'm very glad. I know my limits.

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Sat Oct 18, 08:38:00 pm GMT-4  

  • http://www.stservicemovie.com/

    Get your hankies out. Very cool true story.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Oct 20, 03:18:00 am GMT-4  

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