One word that is often used to describe a person with Down syndrome is that they are always happy. I have taken some time to observe Lydia and see how accurate that statement is. Honestly it drives me nuts because my mind is taken to all of the times she disobeys, yells and screams, throws a tantrum. To me, she has every emotion and really there is no difference with her than my other children. However, there is a difference!
Lydia is attracted to people as people are attracted to her. I find that no matter what she is going through she is more concerned about the stranger standing in line. She has a genuine interest in people and she has a genuine kindness in her heart. It is something that is unfamiliar to this world. When she sees someone hurting, sad, looking at her, she wants them to be happy. She doesn't see them staring at her because she's different, she just wants to see them smile.
When we are at the clinic and she's giving blood, even though it hurts her, she's often more concerned about the person drawing blood. She will start to smile until she sees the tech smiles. It is almost as if she does not succeed until she sees that person smile. Often times I find myself thinking that her mission is to bring a smile to other people's faces no matter what.
When she is eating and she's choking, I ask if she is ok. She immediately looks up in the middle of coughing to give me a thumbs up. She does not want me to worry. When she is able, you will see her beautiful smile that makes the room light up. She's not necessarily ok, but she smiles. Sometimes my heart is full and other times it aches knowing that despite her pain, other people's happiness brings her great joy.
She goes to school and gives it her all for the couple hours she is there. She is determined, she is smiling, and she is helping others. She is quick to run to someone to give them a hug, kiss and make it better or just cheer someone on with a high five. That's just who she is. However, when we get home I see her struggle. She coughs and is tired. She sits on my lap sucking her bottom lip, twirling
my hair in her tiny hands, fighting to keep her eyes open. I look at her and tell her I love her and she manages a half smile from the corner of her mouth.
She throws a tantrum because I cannot understand what she needs. She gets frustrated and angry. It is not her fault, nor is it mine, but sometimes there is no good way to change the situation. She throws her body on the ground and hits the floor, screaming. She yells and looks at me like what is wrong with you mom, why can't you understand. I do my best but there is frustration. As she comes out of the tantrum she easily forgets, gives me a hug and tries to make me smile. It is forgotten and left behind with not an utterance of it again. Her smile is still there through the frustration and she always makes sure that I have a hug or I am ok.
I watch her in the hospital when she is feeling crumby, is in pain, and just wants to be left alone.n as soon as the nurse or doctor walks in, she has a smile and is ready to give a high five or a hug. She loves people and it does not matter how she feels, she will reach out to anyone and make them smile.
She interacts with the hospital staff and lights up when they smile back. She waits for them to give
her a little bit of attention and then she turns on her LYDIBUG charm!
I guess what I am saying is she does smile a lot. But her smile is for your good and not because she is always happy. She looks for ways to make others smile, that is one of her gifts. She has the full range of emotions, she feels just like you and me. But she is built with an inner smile to make the hardest of faces smile back at her. Her smile says she cares about you, her smile says to have a great day, her smile tells you you are loved. It doesn't mean she is always happy, it only means that she thinks of others before herself!