Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Brain Power

John said he wanted me to write something today… that he had checked the blog and was disappointed that I hadn’t posted in a couple of days.  It’s a push that I needed.  Truthfully, I have had this post rolling around in my brain for some time, but I have feared sitting down to write it.  This isn’t pretty.

You see, I’m a smart person.  I earned really good grades in high school and college, high test scores, all that jazz.  I have a Master’s degree that I worked really hard at.  I’ve always valued and appreciated the kind of intelligence that gets measured in schools.  A lot.   And now, I’m in trouble for it.

How often are others disregarded or disrespected because of a lack of intelligence?? And now, it’s making my brain spin.  It’s uncomfortable.  More than uncomfortable… it makes me hurt.

I’m not going to put Tessa into a box, but statistically, we can guess that school will be a struggle for her.  We can guess that she might not take Honors-level courses.  She probably won’t study law or medicine.  I won’t say never, but statistically, you know…

Sometimes, people in the world are going to have a hard time valuing her and her contributions because somehow, we’re living in a society that is really impressed by how “smart” a person is.  And rather than loving on someone who needs more help, we berate them.  We make or read and laugh at terrible internet memes about them – not always people with special needs, but people who do silly things or people who talk or act differently than what we have deemed “the norm.”  We put those people at the end of our jokes.  We don’t use the “r-word,” but we mock stupidity, burger-flipping, garbage-collecting.  We say things like “let’s face it, not all kids are going to college” or “he’s not the brightest crayon in the box” or “someone has to make my fries.”  In the worst of scenarios, we don’t even allow them to live.

All those comments are now personal.  They all sting.

Someday, someone will say something like that about my little girl.

I’m trying not to be overly sensitive.  I’m really pretty good at letting things roll off my shoulders.  I see a lot of value in all the different ways that people contribute to our society and I know that others do, too.  I know that a lot of people will really love my daughter and value and appreciate her while still making jokes about these things.  They aren’t bad people at all.

We just need more love, encouragement, support, kindness, compassion.

I’m working on it.


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On Being Two and a Half

Here is a conversation that I literally just had in the car with Ellie:

Ellie:  Oh man, I lost my booger.

Me:  What?  What booger?

Ellie: My booger from my nose.

Me: (silently pray that it’s gone, long gone… or better yet, that it was just imaginary) umm…. How did you get a booger?

Ellie: Oh I got it.  From my nose.  (pause)  It’s not on my hand.  And it’s not on this hand either. (pause, then squeal)  HERE IT IS.  On my cheek!  I have my booger!!  My stupid booger.  Mom, do you know the “stupid” word?

Me: (in my head: oh yes, I know it well.  As a matter of fact, I probably taught it to you.  Crap, she pays way too much attention… I need to stop gossiping in front of her.)  Umm…..

Ellie:  It means you die.  And you have a stinky shirt and you don’t take a bath.  Can we go to Mimi’s house? 

I will miss two-and-a-half someday.


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