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How My Daughter With Down Syndrome Crushes 'That Look'

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Today I’m thankful my daughter, Pip, teaches me to always be kind to others, even if I’m in a right-snarly-mood and want to teach someone a lesson. Yesterday, we had one of Pip’s (what feels like bazillionth) specialist’s appointments.

In a waiting room, no matter what, Pip always seems to draw attention. Mostly, people smile or engage in small talk which lights her up. But every once in awhile, I get “that look,” when people realize Pip has Down syndrome.

It’s a look I’ve come to recognize and if I let it, it has the power to make me want to cry, yell, shake and scream. It’s a look that feels as sheer pity with a sympathy smile added on top. It’s a look that truly makes me cringe and want to get on a soap box to preach my daughter’s worth. In the waiting room, a lady gave my daughter “that look.”

But this time, instead of saying anything, I let my daughter lead the way.

The lady watched as Pip and I giggled up a storm. She watched as Pip said, “hi” to everyone who entered the room. She watched as Pip helped a baby when he fell and held the hand of a nurse she adores. She watched as Pip asked for music and then danced in her chair, making everyone instantly smile. And she watched as my daughter signed and said, “Love you Mom” over and over. And then when they called our name to be finally seen, I took off the imaginary sign I felt I was wearing around my neck that read, “Do not pity my life.” I turned to the lady with the biggest smile, showing my upper gum, and proudly grabbed my daughter’s hand as walked away.


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Originally published: May 1, 2017
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