When Spencer was first born, we could pick out the markers for Down syndrome, but we really just saw our son. My friends also said they didn't think Spencer looked like he had Down syndrome. At first, it was reassuring. It was a good feeling. No parent wants their child to be identified by their afflictions. Then it seemed like every time I talked to a friend, I was hearing it. It started to bother me. It was as if rather than being identified by Down syndrome, Spencer was being identified by the fact that he didn't look like it. Eventually those comments died down.
A couple of months ago, for the first time, a "stranger" asked me if Spencer had Down syndrome. I think I took it in stride. She was a fellow mom in our local cloth diaper group. She noticed that Spencer looked like Noah, a fairly famous little boy that is kind of close to Spencer's age and also has DS. He is famous because of the blog Noah's Dad. This lead into a discussion of Spencer's health. As my regular readers know, Spencer has minimal health issues brought on by DS.
Since then I've had a few more people ask if Spencer has DS. I think they may have all had someone in their lives that had DS, so they were better "trained" to recognize the common traits. Still... it was becoming a little bit jolting. Yes, my son does have Down syndrome. I am not ashamed of him or his chromosomes. I just don't know if I was ready. It took me by surprise.
Now I find myself wondering if his DS markers will become more obvious as he gets older. Only time will tell. Whatever the case, I love my son more than I ever imagined! His care is not at all overwhelming. Down syndrome does not define him or my relationship with him.
Have you ever asked a person if they or their child had DS or some other affliction?