16 April 2009
“Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on..” This is from the poem Wild Geese by poet Mary Oliver.
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I couldn’t resist adding a photo here. This is an old one; my grandparents, Jack and Esther with my father as a little babe in arms. My dad was born January 15, 1926, and I imagine this was taken sometime that year!

In the book: With Pen in Hand, the healing power of writing, author Henriette Anne Klauser says, “Facing the sad emotions in your life tenderizes you to appreciate fully all the good that is there, too. Grief is not meant to shut you down, but to point to what is important.”

Today in the library book store where everything for sale is very cheap because it’s been donated, often used, I spied a copy of the book; The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, and after short, silent, internal debate, bought if for my friend Peggy who asked if I’d heard of it. I did, and read it, though I was unhappy with it. As I’ve mentioned here before, my middle son has Down Syndrome, which is the linkage between Peggy and I, and with this book also.

At any rate, the woman who checked me out mentioned what a good book…etc., etc., and we talked for a bit, she saying there seems always to be a bit of magic about the folks with Down Syndrome because they appear one way, but have hidden depths, talents and more. I quite agreed with her. Despite my lack of respite from my son, and the fact that he just pushed my buttons not a half hour before that bookstore moment, I do recognize what sets him apart, not because of his disability, but because of the unusual conglomeration of traits that make up my Nathan.

Finally I had to tell the woman our good news, that we’ve been approved to receive aid, and I will soon have some regular respite and once again revel in his uniqueness, rather than my current grumble and grouse, most especially when he pulls one over on me. Imagine this young man, who’s mental abilities are quite limited, yet he knew exactly what to say to his mother, a grown woman, highly intelligent, thoughtful, experienced (with so-called normal intelligence quotient double his) to make me see red. Kind of amazing, huh?

img(This is a Mother’s Day card I’ve made, that I’m giving to my friend Peggy, mother of Bob, who is 37 and has Down Syndrome, and his sister Kristin, who died and is remembered daily. The quote says, “A mother’s love is like a circle, it has no beginning and no ending. It keeps going around and around ever expanding, touching everyone who comes in contact with it.” by Art Urban.)

Okay, this will be a short post. Need to get going soon to teach my elementary after-school students some art…and today we’re painting and making personal “BEST ________” awards.
On a paper plate, I’ve stapled a bit of ribbon to the bottom of plate. The children get to make an award for themselves using the word BEST and ________ (whatever; smiler, pet owner, ?) and decorate to their delight. I’ll punch holes and attach a pipe cleaner so it can hang on a doorknob or on a desk chair, or wherever it suits them. But what’s important to me, besides giving them an opportunity to play with color and paint today, is to have something that communicates their pride in themselves.
Can’t get enough compliments in this life! That’s my thought of the day.

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