Monday, May 30, 2011

Greeted with Open Arms

Beth, Diana and I were walking through the mall last night when Diana pointed out a tiny bundle of energy walking, running and dancing in front of us. "Mom, she has Down Syndrome!"

As we got closer I saw her run back to her dad and stand in front of him. She hugged his legs and that's when I tapped him on the shoulder. I asked if she was his daughter and as he looked up at me and Beth, his eyes lit up and a huge smile spread across his face!

"Yes! She my daughter! Oooh! Hi!"

He was staring at Beth. They were East Indian and spoke in broken English. I asked him what his daughters name was and it was something like Ackleesia. He asked me what Beth's name was (I find it interesting that people always ask us, not Beth. We then look at Beth and wait for her to answer. Maybe they don't expect her to be able to talk? I don't know. I just find interesting. And now I've learned to always ask the child. I ask them their name. Ask them how old they are. Include them in the conversation. The parent knows if they can speak and will answer for them if necessary. And then you can guage who you should ask from that point.)

Beth answered "Elizabeth." And again his face brightened.

"My wife! Elizabeth!"

He pointed over to a lady standing with a stroller. She put her hand on her chest and said, "Elizabeth". I pointed to Beth, "My daughter's name is Elizabeth too!"

You'd think they had just found long lost family members! It's really kind of cool because in a way, they had. Don't you feel such a connection to other families who have children with Ds? We bonded instantly. Mom brought over the stoller, which was filled with a new baby girl, maybe 6-7 months old. Then the oldest sister, who had been trying to corral Ackleesia as they walked through the mall (maybe around 7?) also came over and stood by her dad. They asked if Beth was "Smallest? Baby?" I said no, she was my oldest. They looked a little surprised. I told them Beth was 26, then another daughter was 24 and our baby (I pointed to Diana) is 20.

"Oh!! Three girls?! We 3 girls too!"

Dad picked up Ackleesia and said she would be 2 next month. He leaned her toward Beth and asked her to give Beth a kiss, but she changed her mind at the last second. Bent herself back into dads arms and we all laughed.

Thinking about it now, maybe I should have gotten a phone number or email or something that would have allowed me to keep in touch. Who knows how many people they know in the area. How long they've lived here. What kind of support Ackleesia receives. I'll just need to pray that we bump into them again soon!!


Unknown said...

this is a great story...I bet everyone was grinning from ear to ear!! I am excited to get to know you and your daughter...thank you for sharing..smiles

JC said...

And this is why I love your blog!! It IS interesting to hear that people always ask YOU Beths name!! I am going to make sure that I always ask the person and NOT the parent!! I bet a lot of people dont even think about that.
That really is a great bit of info! Loved this story too, made me happy :)

Kristin said...

Very cool.

Shannon said...

My daughter doesn't have a lot of physical characteristics of DS. Something that I once wished for, now I am wishing people could look at her and know. When I run into other people with DS, I so want to be able to just go up, them look at Fiona and see that we are part of their family. But with out me saying, "she has Down syndrome" people would never asume. Weird that this is something that bothers me...

Wren said...

What a fun chance meeting! I think there is a connection...almost like a secret club! Sounds like a great family...maybe you'll run into them again! :)

Anonymous said...

That is so cool! The Ds community is great!!

Lisa said...

I looooooooove those chance meetings!!!!!

Melissa said...

I love these random meetings! It's always nice to run into "family".