When a Couple at the Restaurant Noticed Something About My Family I'd Almost Forgotten

When our little Amelia was born 18 months ago, the focus was on her survival. She was born with an extra 21st chromosome which, in her case, caused a severe heart defect. Amelia began having serious issues within a few weeks of birth: struggling to eat and even just breathe. She was in and out of the hospital many times that first year for illnesses, open-heart surgery and a surgery to place her g-tube.

As Amelia reached a year, with the most serious health issues behind us, we switched our focus to therapy to help her learn to eat, walk and speak.

When an older couple took an interest in Amelia at a restaurant, I wasn’t surprised. Since Amelia doesn’t eat, she spends mealtimes waving and smiling and playing. The couple came over to me afterward, and the gentleman said, “She is the most adorable little girl! Just when I thought she couldn’t get any more darling, she would!” His wife motioned to our other two children (5 and 3) and said how precious she thought all our kids were. Then she said something that stopped me in my tracks:

“You are one lucky mama.”

My eyes filled with tears. This couple had been observing our family for long enough to know that Amelia was being fed through a tube, long enough to see that she’s developmentally behind and has Down syndrome. But they’d also been watching long enough that they came to understand how truly blessed we are to have all three of these precious kiddos.

Amidst the illnesses and surgeries and therapies, in the middle of working on overcoming so many challenges, I hadn’t paused long enough to realize just how amazing my family really is. I’ve always known how much I love my children and that I wouldn’t trade them for the world. But to have someone else notice, to have someone look at us without feeling sorry for us – to go so far beyond that as to think we’re lucky —  that was a gift.

This kind stranger gave me a new perspective and a new mantra: I am, indeed, one incredibly blessed mama!


Follow this journey on Paper Fences.

The Mighty is asking its readers the following: Describe the moment a stranger — or someone you don’t know very well — showed you or a loved one incredible love. No gesture is too small! If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please  include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Down Syndrome

Why We Started a College Fund for Our Newborn With Down Syndrome

I’ve hesitated on writing this post. I don’t want it to come across wrong. I want you to know that I don’t think I’m some sort of hero for not wanting a traditional push present. Because lady, if looking forward to getting that Kate Spade bag helps you get through 9 months of nausea, back [...]

Photo Project Captures the Beautiful Differences Among People with Down Syndrome

Sigga Ella, a 34-years-old photographer from Reykjavík, Iceland, has created a photo series that takes a stand. The project, called “First and Foremost I Am,” addresses ethical questions associated with prenatal diagnostic testing, which can detect conditions like Down syndrome in the early stages of pregnancy. Ella, who had an aunt with Down syndrome named Begga, feels strongly [...]

Why We Adopted a Child With Down Syndrome

When my husband, Ward, and I started dating, I was 42 years old and he was 29. Yeah, I have a trophy husband. We eventually wanted a child. We briefly explored fertility counselling, but after I cancelled our introductory appointment with the clinic — twice — I had to explain to Ward that I didn’t [...]

The Best Thing Anyone Could Have Said to Me After Our Down Syndrome Diagnosis

When I was pregnant with our second son, my biggest worry was making it to at least 34 weeks so I could deliver at our wonderful local hospital, which doesn’t have a NICU. But my first son was premature, and all the signs pointed to this one coming early too. On July 31, 2012, at [...]