Monday, August 15, 2005

Beauty

beau' ty – (noun) .... 1 : the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit..... 2 : a particularly graceful, ornamental, or excellent quality..... 3 : a brilliant, extreme, or egregious example or instance..... 4 : a quantum characteristic that accounts for the existence and lifetime of the upsilon particle.


I am truly blessed if in no other way, than with this. Our path to parenthood was long and soaked with our tears, but we have been entrusted with an angel. Our little boy is bright, and curious, and gifted with a wonderful sense of humor. And if I may say so, his outside is as beautiful as his inside. Adorable face with big lapis eyes topped with shiny cornsilk hair. A big radiating smile that is given out generously. He teaches us how to view the world through the eyes of a child once again – a gift that we have allowed to atrophy as life and chores and bills and responsibilities have clouded our heads in recent years.

People cross rooms to tell us how beautiful he is.

Our blessings were brought back into light with whiplash speed this weekend as I was reminded of how not all cards are dealt the same. We met a very nice family out on the lake this weekend. Mother and Dad were both very good looking people, and they had two attractive children in their late single digits. They also had a young daughter, aged two. Blue eyes, blonde curls, and a warm smile. She too was very magnetic. But she was different.

Their youngest daughter has Down Syndrome. She clearly displays the classic physical telltale signs. But she too is indeed beautiful. Her parents completely and openly adore her, and it isn’t hard to understand why. She smiled. She laughed. She dealt out hugs freely and lavishly. She played with wild abandon. She turned her face to the sun, closed her eyes and smiled at its warmth – a warmth lovingly poured down by God, no more or no less upon any one of us than another.

My heart aches for her parents. Not for their daughter’s stereotypically labeled “imperfections”, but for the superficial sightedness of the world. Most people will never see the beauty within this little girl for not being able to get past her surface.

I was reminded of a friend I had as a child. My friend had Down Syndrome and was significantly developmentally handicapped. She didn't have many other friends, as most people were put off by her. But we had fun together. She may not have been as advanced as I in classic intelligence, but she had a delightful sense of humor and endless energy. We had a great time together. She taught me how to look beneath the surface. I hope to teach my son to do the same.

Because a person is lacking by societal standards in physical or mental or communication capacities does not mean they do not have a complete and intact soul. Perhaps those individuals are even better off, as their door is perpetually propped to that which makes life enjoyable, while the rest of us have allowed our windows to be painted shut and door hinges corroded into being stiff and stubborn in their willingness to open.

11 comments:

ykwia said...

You are totally correct.....after all, we are all God's children! Some challenges are just more apparent than others.

PS: Yeah, I think I'm your biggest fan!;)

Claire's mom said...

I came over after seeing your message on Emma Jayne's site. (I hope that's ok in the world of blogging) Thank you... so well said. I have a daughter with ds and indeed she is beautiful. Sadly some people will never see that but I feel sad for them, what perfect people we pass by in life because they don't "appear" just like us.

Tara Marie said...

It is a blessing to see the world through eyes of wonder....to see beauty in ways that others can not even begin to comprehend.

I'm so glad you were on the lake this weekend, and I'm glad I found my way to your blog to read about your experience and insight.

Peace, TM

Mauzy said...

I so agree with your statement that others have "windows to be painted shut and door hinges corroded into being stiff and stubborn in their willingness to open." It's so unfortunate, for them. You are kind for not being one of them. But please, don't let your heart ache for her parents, or any parents of a child with tri21. We openly celebrate our children, relish in their accomplishments, and really, its ok! I never thought I would be so darn proud but I am. So proud.

Emit-Flesti said...

Beauty is everywhere you look, just rise your eyes child.
:)

clew said...

Right you are, Mauzy ... Perhaps that was the wrong choice of phrase. I simply wish everyone could see and understand the beautiful person their child is as they (the parents) do. This is where I'm sorry - the world loses out.

Emily Elizabeth said...

Clew, I couldn't agree with you more...it is incredibly sad and disturbing that society has such a narrow definition of beauty...one that isn't really even based on beauty, but based on an accepted image of attractiveness. Beauty is indeed bountiful, if only we open our eyes. Those that don't will never find true fulfillment because their vision is so limited.

Yes, all cards are not dealt the same. But the deal is irrelevant, it is how the hand is played that matters. Through the course of playing my hand, I realized that I was dealt an ace all along...shame on me for not realizing it sooner.

Naomi said...

I'm glad you are going to teach your son to be open and accepting but as someone else said don't ache for us who have a child with T21, we get to see the beauty, innocence and lust for life every day.

Belovedlife said...

One thing that having a child with DS has taught me, is to look inside each person, as they are very special and unique. The exterior is nothing more then a cover of a book. We all know about jusging a book by its cover. Im glad you had this experiance, as it will help you and your kids learn to be more accepting of all others. Just remember what you have learned and pass that on to others who have yet to learn.
Kwpp smiling!

Jen said...

Having grown up next door to a friend with Downs Syndrome (she is only about a year older than I am), I played with her when I was young and babysat her during the summers when I got older while her mom was at work. She taught me a lot about appreciating life, though she never realized it.

Bainwen Gilrana said...

I work for an agency which supports people with developmental disabilities like Down's Syndrome. Mostly we try to help integrate the people into the community as best we can-- there are some who were in psychiatric institutions not so many years ago. They vary widely in their ease of fitting in with the mainstream community, but they are all beautiful.