When she was little, I used to think that she’d come to an age at which she’d see another person with Down syndrome in a crowd and–like those Harley guys who can’t not wave–they’d share a brief something. A commonality that surpasses the understanding of those of us whose DNA is contained in a mere 46 chromosomes.
It may happen, but it hasn’t yet.
She shows no partiality whatsoever to people with Down syndrome. She is equally entranced by all of those who need just a little bit more: babies, nonverbal peers, the elderly. I don’t know what it is about them–how she knows. But she seems to. She picks them out of a crowd and something pulls her in, captivates her heart for a tender moment.
A few months ago, a virtual friend sent me the. coolest. t-shirt. ever.
The first time I wore it, Cassie noticed. I shouldn’t have been surprised; she’s an observant little thing. She was sitting on a bar stool opposite me as I rinsed dishes in the sink. Her eyes tracked the words as she carefully read: keep…calm…it’s…only…an…extra…ceremony.
Chromosome, I said.
Oh yes, she answered. Chromosome. I like your shirt, Mommy. It’s pretty.
Thank you, I said. I like it, too.
You should buy me one, she said, all matter-of-fact.
It was an odd thing for her to say if only because she has absolutely no interest in clothing of any sort. Not once had she ever before complimented my wardrobe and then asked for a smaller version for herself. And this shirt, with it’s obvious lack of cartoon characters and it’s prominent featuring of such a hard word, shouldn’t really have meant anything to her.
But it did. For whatever reason.
I wouldn’t call it a sixth sense. That, for her, is compassion. A seventh, though, is a definite possibility.