He stared at me from across the way. I sat peddling newspapers, excited for people to read about the news we’d recently unearthed. He paced back and forth, just watching.
I guess I must have looked thoughtfully
at him at one point because he returned the action. Sometimes I wonder
if people with down syndrome can be like that, simply honest and
As the day continued, he kept glancing over and I really
wondered what he was thinking. The man must have been in his early
twenties and obviously seemed to be pondering something.
suddenly turned to my son who died. He’d had birth defects and the
doctors throughout he was mentally handicapped. They kept saying that if
he ended up growing to be an adult, he wouldn’t have a good quality of
There was a part of me that wondered if they’d been right. He
died from health complications, but I’ve always wondered what he really
would have been like, as an adult.
At first they thought he’d have
down syndrome, then trisomy. They performed all sorts of tests before
he was born and afterward, when nurses cared from him in the NICU;
experts studied all sorts of tests there too.
Anyway, I thought of
all of this as the man with down syndrome watched me at the fair. If my
boy would have been mentally slow, what would that have been like?
normally so happy, and I’m not totally sure why but I suddenly
descended into such a sadness as I sat there that I almost started
I just wished for a second that I could feel the arms of
God wrap around me and just take the pain surrounding sickness and
death. It seems like when my son died he left a hole that will never be
filled – not unless I can somehow be surrounded by God’s love, just to
know that He has a plan.
Suddenly, when I’d gotten to the very worst of this feeling, the man with down syndrome gracefully zig-zagged toward me.
“I like you,” he said. “I just do.”
“Well, thank you.” I blinked, and then brightened, for his sake. “And, I like you!”
“Hug?” he looked down and kicked a rock by his shoe.
Sure.” So I held out my arms extremely wide and he placed his head
softly on my shoulder as I hugged him. I swear that somehow it felt like
the presence of God surrounded both of us, wrapping us in this
He kissed my shoulder lightly before walking away. As he was about to round the corner, he yelled back, “I love you, k!”
Tears filled my eyes, not because I was sad, but because I’d witnessed something amazing.
“Thank you for that,” his caregiver quickly said.
“He’s pretty special isn’t he?”
“Yeah, he really is.”