Now, I will admit that when Sharaya was born, the first thing I asked Chuck was, "Does she have Down Syndrome?" When he said no, it was such a huge relief. But we didn't live our lives like that, thinking Beth was a burden and she made our lives so hard... she was just Beth. One of our three girls. (How Chuck survived all those years I'll never know!)
So I was really surprised the other night when I heard a testimony at church from J who said a friend had been told her unborn baby had Down Syndrome and 2 holes in his heart. But after family and friends prayed, the baby was born perfectly healthy. No holes and no Down Syndrome!
The church exploded in praise and cheers. And I sat there thinking, "Wait a second." I was clapping too but something just wasn't right. For the first time in over 34 years, I felt... Well I don't exactly know what I felt. It was this odd feeling down in my heart.
It was such a real feeling too, kind of a mixture of sadness and isolation and shock. It's really hard to explain it.
Like you've just heard your best friends taking bad about you behind your back.
"Is this what you've thought all this time? Is this how you all really feel?!"
It was like they were so excited he wasn't gonna be like Beth. But all these years I thought you all liked Beth?!
She's grown up there, attended for 30 years and all that time she's been the only person with Down Syndrome. And at that moment, when everyone cheered because he wouldn't be like Beth, I suddenly felt so isolated.
But I was telling Chuck it wasn't so much about their reaction to the news about the little baby, but that feeling I had. That very real, first-time-in-my-life isolating feeling.
What was that? And why would I feel that way now, after all these years? Stuff like this has never bothered me before, why now?