People with Down syndrome are happy all the time.
John Michael and Luke are starting to mutually enjoy each others' company, which thrills me. To see these two together, as in the photo above, makes my heart sing with joy. And I wish it was like this all the time...
I love photography. Just as poetry captures the moment in writing, photography captures the moment visually. And while they say a picture is worth a thousand words... it's the moment before and after that remains unseen...
So, Myth #1 is that John Michael, and all people with Ds, is happy all the time.
In the 20 minutes before this photo was taken, I had corrected John Michael a dozen or more times for patting Luke on the head a little too hard... Pulling Luke toward him too tight... For grabbing the sample of root beer float away from Luke that I was holding for him to taste... For biting my fingers (it was an accident, but his teeth are SHARP!) when I was doling out turkey burger patty samples... etc, etc...
Life, right now, is in constant motion... kinda like a carousel spinning out of control, and I can't find a way to jump off.
These two together are both wonderful and trouble at the same time. John Michael can go from total joy and fun to total fit for not getting his way in no time at all. He will say, "Mom! Mom!" until I say, "What?" and give him the answer he wants. If not, he'll keep repeating himself. I LOVE that he is talking so much... really talking... and then I feel terrible when he doesn't get the subleties of language when I say, "No, you can't play a game right now. Maybe later."
"Mom! Mom! Game. Cows."
"No, John Michael, no cow game right now."
"No, John Michael, no game."
"Mom! Mom! Game. Cows."
Now, repeat 3 or 4 more times...
When he finally gives up, he cries.
Yes, it would be easier for me to give him the game, but I need to teach him that he doesn't get what he wants all the time (and I recently heard that cell phones are harmful to our kids and they shouldn't have them near their bodies too often).
Anyway, just wanted to bust that myth.
I'm glad it's not true... really.
I mean, I wouldn't want him just going through life without a vast array of feelings and experiences. I can say from experience, though, that when he's happy, he really is genuinely happy. And it's a wonderful thing. He's funny, too. I also love that he tells me he's happy.
"Yes, John Michael, happy. I'm happy you're happy. :-) "
And I think to myself... "Even though life is a challenge right now with you and Luke finding trouble together, I'm still very happy to be your mom, because the joy far outweighs anything else."