Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Swim, Little Fish, Swim

I love reading blogs by other moms. I've been doing it since the beginning of the Internet. When I find a mom that has a shared experience with me (which they all do because they are, duh, moms), I often hear my own voice in their words.
This is definitely true for this post. It appeared on a blog by a mom I admire from afar. She has so many children and two of her younger ones share Ruby's number of chromosomes. When she posted another blogger's words this month, I found myself reading and rereading the same words daily. It's just that good.

I love what she says here:
If we do not create space for people with Down syndrome to be, I don’t know… people with Down syndrome, then we will forever be trying to make them something they are not. Like good ol’ Einstein once said, “But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” 

Can I get an amen?
In some of my most frustrated moments I often find that I am totally holding Ruby up to standards of older children we happen to be surrounding ourselves with, or kids with excelling abilities far beyond her capacity, regardless of her extra chromosome. I don't judge Maddux's intelligence based on Eli's ability to create lego masterpieces, and I don't hold Eli accountable for writing and drawing with the depth his sister does. So why do I feel the need to hold Ruby at a baseline that is set by others?
Somehow I manage to get myself so off-track that I stop seeing the amazing heart and worth of this child in my search for her success in speaking with perfect articulation or completing a task for the sake of checking it off of our to-do list.

When we are having our best days - when I see Ruby excelling, when I see Ruby shining in a crowd of status quo - it is when I am able to look at her independent of any standards or comparisons other than her past performances: I see her amazing progress and just revel in that. I see her for the awesome fish she is.

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