This is the question I was asked earlier today while shopping at Goodwill for more costumes for the Oliver musical.
"Excuse me. Does your son have Down syndrome? He looks like it."
Well, I thought, this could go anywhere. What do you say? "Thanks?"
I just smiled and said, "Yes, he does."
She quickly explained that her nephew has Down syndrome and he's super cute and John Michael's eyes look like her nephew's eyes. He's four, she said, and is learning to sign at a special school. I didn't ask any questions, but she felt like sharing. She didn't hesitate to tell me that "they" (kids with Down syndrome) are all sweet and loving and quiet.
To that, I smiled again, and said, "He's not always quiet, but he's certainly loving and sweet."
She quickly replied, "Oh, I don't mean to say "they" as in grouping them all together, but it does seem that way. They are such beautiful children and I love your son's eyes."
In her own quirky way, she actually touched my heart. I know it was a slightly awkward moment. For me, it was her opening line that got me. Of course, John Michael "looks" like he has Down syndrome, but honestly, that's not what I see. So it took me off guard when someone actually said it out loud.
I see a sweet, loving, stubborn, cute, strong, quick, able toddler, who's making his way in this world one step, one milestone, one victory at a time. And, I'm so glad he's taking me along on his journey.