Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Lesson #4: Being a “Magnet Family” is Not So Bad

on October 4, 2014

This is part of the 31 for 21 Blog Challenge!

I will confess to you that I truly despise those little stick figure families that people stick on the back of their minivans. I have always been intrigued by bumper stickers, but in general have just found them silly. Why does anyone really need to express to the world their love and support for their favorite dog/politician/radio station/eating preference/moral belief? I really never understood it.

(My favorite was the time I saw an older man driving a car with SEVEN variations of a “breast is best” sticker.)

I’m sure that part of all of this is my father in me. For whatever reason, it has stuck with me that he never put stickers on any of our cars. I’m sure that when I was 16, I probably wanted some Backstreet Boys logo to be plastered on the back of our little white Buick Skylark and he told me no. But I digress…

This is all at the forefront now because one of our favorite parent groups, UPS for DownS, gave us a car magnet. It took me several days to feel like I could put the darn thing on my car. One of the balancing acts that we walk as parents with kids with special needs is the strong desire to accepted as a “normal” family, while still needing the support network of those people who are different like us. And so there is a small fear of branding ourselves as “that family who has a kid with Down syndrome” rather than just being “the Lays.”

I’m fairly positive that no one in our circle of family and friends gives any thought at all to our differences. If they do, they don’t show any sign of it.

In any case, the magnet is there now, in the hopes that another family who might need to get connected will reach out. Or so that some passerby in the Meijer parking lot will notice and understand that we are really not unusual. It’s been there for a couple weeks and it just kind of blends in. I would probably never even notice it if Ellie didn’t hide it in strange places all the time.

It’s just a silly little magnet that sort of sets us apart. There’s no reason for it to be a big deal and somehow, it is. And yet, somehow, it isn’t at all.

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