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This Is Friendship for My Adult Daughter With Down Syndrome

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This picture of my daughter and her friend makes me smile.

Two friends hugging.

My daughter’s friend asked her to be a bridesmaid in her upcoming wedding and I was there to capture the moment between them. There are many things I see in this picture: I see acceptance, I see inclusion, I see that my daughter matters to her friend and that her friend values their relationship enough to want her to play a special part in this memorable occasion.

My daughter knows she is different. Many doors have opened for her, yet she knows she isn’t like her peers. She can’t quite put her finger on why she is different and she is sometimes angry and resentful over it.

But love sees with the heart. Her friend realizes that despite their differences, my daughter has value. She talked to me before asking my daughter and told me that she really wanted her to be in her wedding.

We often relegate people who are different to the periphery. We smile and are too polite to be rude, but we don’t think of them as playing a significant role in our lives unless they are a family member. Coach Gene Stallings stated that he always noted anyone who was kind to his son and included him. As mothers of children who have differences, we wear our hearts on our sleeves. We realize the lifelong implications of these differences and our hearts ache because we are unable to fix these challenges.

I’m so thankful I have this picture. It captures a moment in time — a special moment between friends. In this picture I see joy — joy on the faces of both. My daughter wears the joy of unconditional acceptance. The bride-to-be wears the joy of a friend agreeing to join her on her special day. Although I am powerless to fix so many aspects of my child’s life, I treasure the moments, frozen forever in time in my memory, which say that she has been noticed and that she matters.

My prayer for her is that she will experience a lifetime filled with such moments.

Originally published: December 9, 2018
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