Life Has Its Ups and Downs

Often times when a child is born, someone might ask the question, “Does he have all of his fingers and toes?” meaning is he “normal” in development. The chances are that the answer is affirmative although statistically there is a chance (1 out of 800-1000 births) that a child may be born carrying a “chromosomal disease” known as Down’s syndrome. The degree to which the disease is manifested varies; some children are only marginally affected. Professionals can rather easily diagnose the illness by examining and comparing it with certain known standard benchmarks.
No one would deny that a family with a Down’s syndrome child is not faced with some extraordinary challenges even more so than having a “normal” child in the household. Generally, depending on the degree of the affliction, the child will have cognitive ability impairment and physical challenges throughout his/her life. That’s where love comes in. It overcomes all.
Recently I had lunch with a father whose son was born with all his fingers and toes but because of the “presence of all or part of an extra 21st chromosome” his life will forever be full of challenges unknown to most of his peers. The conversation we had was mostly one of a proud father who saw in his Down’s affected son as not one to hide, but one that he could brag about because his son has wisely chosen not to withdraw into a shell of self pity because of his lack of so-called normalcy but had chosen a “can-do” path whose results are easily seen not only by his family but those with whom he associates. And he does have associations like any typical teenager. If you, the reader are a senior like me, you obviously are puzzled by the complexities of the new information marvels such as the iphone, digital cameras, the blackberry, Face book, You Tube and other computer based bewilderments. The father stated that when he wants the advice of a personal “Geek” to untangle these computer mysteries, he needs only to check with his son who may lack certain understandings, but he is a whiz in others.
I recall of saying, one that has stuck with me: “Everybody is smart except in different things.” Think about that sentence.
Even the “dumbest” person you know is smarter that you, maybe not in English, history and math but in some other areas. The son in question might lack the coordination to throw or catch a baseball yet his batting average in his own fields of expertise would be major league..
And the son is not one dimensional in his interests. He has developed skills as a master chef and can easily and readily whip up a country style meal in a jiffy and with little assistance. Nearly everyone collects something whether cards, coins, stamps or any number of other things, this collector son has a library that provides him with information he uses to fulfill his love of cooking. Over the years he has accumulated scores of recipe books many of them given to him by friends who know of his special kitchen interests. Looking for some catfish stew that is tasty and original, try his recipe and be converted.
It has been said that of the many things that are needed to be successful in life, one is of primary importance.
You have to have a good attitude about life especially as in this case when, in a sense, the deck has been stacked against you.
Knowing that extra effort is required to achieve success that many take for granted, this young man has accomplished a great deal by his willingness to hang in there and not give up when the path becomes uphill and difficult.
Then too, knowing that you are unconditionally loved makes up for whatever else is lacking.
‘You cannot choose your battlefield,
The gods do that for you,
But you can plant a standard,
Where a standard never flew.” Nathalia Crane
Bill Lee
PO Box 128
Hamer, SC 29547