I have to give children with Down Syndrome a plug here. Our daughter, B., has Down Syndrome and is 6.5 years old. Today we attended a mother-daughter tea at the alzheimer ward of a retirement home where a friend works. Some of the residents can speak: some cannot. Who was the only child to talk to the residents? B! She does not see a difference between these men and women, though our other children hold back, are shy and visibly uncomfortable at times. She jokes, waves, talks about how the dog which has been barking downstairs the last two times (2 and 4 months ago respectively) is not there this time.
A few weeks ago in church, B. realized a woman was new; there are 100 people in church every week. Because of this connection, we were able to meet; the guest was new to the neighborhood. Bridget consistently notices a new person and greets him or her. In the middle of church, she looked behind her and shouted out and waved ecstatically at a family who hadn't been there for a few months.
This all thrills me and reminds me what is truly important.