Today’s story is about Gifts: Mother’s Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Have Enriched Their Lives, edited by Kathryn Lynard Soper. I had already finished writing my own book when I learned about Gifts. It was too late to include it in Road Map, so I did the next best thing–I told everyone I knew about it, and I participated in an event at our local Barnes & Noble for the book (B&N has a wonderful selection of books about special needs; CEO Steve Riggio has a daughter, Melissa, who has Down syndrome).
After the reading, I heard an announcement over the store’s intercom, “Jennifer Groneberg? Jennifer Groneberg? You have a phone call.” My first thought was that it was Tom, and that something was wrong at home. I excused myself and rushed to the nearest phone.
On the other end of the line was a grandmother who’d just learned that one of her grandchildren had Down syndrome. She wanted a copy of Gifts for her granddaughter. She’d tried to make it into the store that day, but couldn’t. She was hoping I’d save a book for her and leave it with customer service, so she could pick it up later. I told her I would.
Many months passed and I forgot about the book and the new grandbaby, until Tom and the kids and I found ourselves at the Buddy Walk. I saw several faces I recognized, and some new ones, too. As I made my way through the pavilion, a young woman came up to me. She was a photographer, and she’d volunteered to document the day for the families. She asked the names of my children, then me. When I told her, her eyes widened. “You’re Jennifer?” she asked. I nodded, and she reached out and hugged me.
She was the woman with the baby whose grandmother had called the store that day, she explained. The book I’d saved had been for her.
And now, more MotherTalk Blog Book Tour! The winner of yesterday’s drawing for the $20 Gift Certificate is #6, ukrainemom of Pocket Lint. Congratulations! (And if you didn’t win, there will be another drawing today, just enter your name in the comments!)
Jooniper from Pocket Lint writes about our friendship (is it 2 years already?) and how one of the joys of parenting a child with Down syndrome is the people who come into your life as a result.
Julia of I Won’t Fear Love bravely dives in to the scenes involving the 92% termination rate for prenatal diagnosis. She raises the issue of judgement: of me feeling judged and then judging others, in turn. She looks at many sides of this issue then takes a different path, choosing not to judge (me or “them” or anyone), but to listen. She writes, “For this is one thing I am taking away from this book– if we are to glimpse each other’s worlds, we should do that with respect and care.”