My first experience

>> Wednesday, February 20, 2008

with someone with T21.

You know, I wish that I could write about a profound experience with someone with T21 that I met when I was young. But, the truth is, I never saw children with intellectual disabilities at my school or in my neighborhood. My first real exposure to Down syndrome was Corky on Life Goes On, and I watched that show with great adoration of him. I never really considered him different from the rest of his family. In fact, in some ways, he seemed to be the most functional!

After I had Maren, my online friends Jan, Jeff, and Nash and Nicole, Joe, Darrah, and Tarenne, met my family at the Indianapolis Buddy Walk. I was so excited to meet their families in person. And, Buddy Walk was an amazing and positive experience for me. Maren was just a few months old.

Near the end, Chris Burke was signing autographs. I stood in line with Maren and as our turn neared, I started to sob. I guess he was used to that reaction, because he smiled and just said a few things that made me feel better, that I no longer remember. I felt awe-struck, and remember thinking "he really has Down syndrome. He really does have Down syndrome." Somehow, despite all logic, I expected to meet an actor without an extra chromosome. Ridiculous, I know. But there he was, extra 21st and all...signing autographs and opening up a world of possibilities for actors just like himself.

So, though he isn't the first person with T21 that I actually met (that is another amazing tale to share that happened when I was preggo with Maren), he was the first person that I actually "knew of" and he prepared my heart and life in amazing ways.


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