The necessity of parents becoming advocates for their children. "You will be her advocate," the early intervention coordinator told us when Stella was just weeks old. Life presents you with a capital-C Cause, and you take it up and run with it.
I didn't want to become one of those parents, the ones who make trouble. The large, loudmouthed, anxious, angry woman at the orientation session for Preschool Special Education. She seemed to be looking for a fight. What was she so worried about? I wondered.
All the families at the Buddy Walk, the parents, all of us slightly dazed-looking, perhaps dazzled by the sunny day and the hundreds of smiling faces, all here because of something our children had in common. We were all part of a Community, there for a Cause.
A father, later in the day, exasperated: "Where's my idiot son?" Clearly referring to the one without Down syndrome.
So many words to avoid, to make you cringe. So many times a day you come across them. A whole new language to learn, words that have new meanings now: delays, intervention, diagnosis.
A beautiful little girl waking up in the middle of night for a drink of water then settling back to sleep, porcelain skin, sweet snoring, silky brown hair.