Today I cried...

when I went to
pick Lila up from school
I could tell something wasn't right.

Lila walked out with 
her para, as she always does.
But today she walked with 
her head down when normally
she runs to me with
outstretched arms
as she hollers

Today was different.

I asked her para i
it was a rough day.
She told me that it was,
but not because of anything
Lila had done.
She told me what
happened while Lila
stood and looked down
at her feet.

There was an incident
in PE today.
The kindergarten class
was playing a game.
When Lila took her turn
the kids couldn't understand her.
They started laughing at her.
She asked them 
not to laugh at her.
They kept laughing.
Her para stepped in
and told them that
it wasn't nice to laugh at people.
Where the teacher was 
I'm not sure.

I'm sure this isn't the
first time that Lila has
had her feelings hurt at school.
(I'm fairly sure it won't be the last.)
It's just the first    
time anyone has told us
about it.

All the way home Lila said
over and over,
"My friends laugh at me.
They can't understand me
when I talk."

These situations come
without warning.
You don't get to think about
what you should say,
you don't get to rehearse.
You have to act.

I told my sad little girl that
I was sorry her friends
hurt her feelings.
And I was sorry that they
couldn't understand her when
she took her turn at the game.
 And I told her that was why
Miss Julie was coming to
see her every week.
So she can work hard
on talking so that people
will be able to
 understand her.

We love Lila's school.
We love her teachers,
we love her para.
 We are fortunate 
that Lila attends a
school where she is
welcome in the
general ed classroom.

 There are little girls
in Lila's class who are
very sweet to her.
They watch out for her.
They treat her like she
is a little sister.
They don't treat her 
as an equal.

Lila gets invited to 
 all of the birthday parties
of classmates who send the
invitations home in the backpacks.
Lila gets invited to none of
the birthday parties of
classmates who don't send 
invitations home 
in the backpacks.
She is...
One among them.
She is not...
One of them.

The truth is...
Lila is different.
The other kids know it.
Lila knows it. 
I don't hate
Down syndrome.
I don't wish that
Lila didn't have
Down syndrome.
Lila is exactly who
she is supposed to be.  

 I am not sad that
Lila has Down syndrome.
I'm sad about
the way being different
is viewed in our society.
Less than.

 Today I am tired.
Tomorrow I will
pick up the fight again.
The fight for acceptance.

I will take my cues
from these sweet girls
who never, ever
  give up.


  1. Oh how I know that feeling all too well of crying for them because kids laughed at them. Hugs to all of you mama.

  2. I am so sorry and I know. I am crying too. UGH!

  3. I am so sorry today was so hard. Stella isn't in school yet. She starts preschool in September. I want her to be treated like "one" of the other kids.....but will she?....I honestly don't know. Hugs to you! Your girls are beauties!

  4. And now I'm crying as I head to bed. I should have waited til morning to read this. It makes me sad that she, and you, were made to feel so sad. As Lila looked at her feet. Heartbreaking.

  5. It is a hard path. It's not so lonely when there is someone else. I will hold my hand out in friendship. We can do this.

  6. Thinking of little miss Lila as I lay down and say my prayers.kerping her and you in them! I can only imagine..... Xoxoxoxox

  7. This just made me cry, sob really. I feel you 100%. Hugs to you and hugs to your sweet Lila!

  8. Thank you for sharing this so honestly. You've got a beautiful little girl.

  9. Linda~ this is the hardest part of motherhood (for all our kids). Thanks for sharing because Tobin is only 1 so I am not there yet. I appreciate the peak into your lives and you sharing your heart.

  10. This is my fear. How can we make our children resilient to the taunts? My little one is only 19 months old and we have great support, but now do we work on her being seen as an equal? Thanks for the glimpse into your life and experience. I am sure if you figure it out, you will share. :)

  11. Linda, it amazes me how early it starts :( I know that we will all go through this--all children get teased at some point but even more so with our kids with Ds. It really struck me when you said that Lila has children who look out for her, but treat her as a younger sister. It is already like that in Ellie's preschool program. They love her. Want to play with her. Baby her. In fact, they call her "the baby". Ellie is nearly 4 years old and not even the youngest one in the classroom anymore and yet she is "the baby". Outside of school, kids from her playgroup when she turned 3yo told her they don't want to play with her. Anyway, this just breaks my heart. Hugs to Lila and hugs to you Mama Bear.

  12. This is why we fight.
    Beautiful and moving post.

  13. Shared on my blog.... Thank you for sharing... I feel your pain, I cried when I read it... Blessings to you!!!

  14. We love our Gary for who he is, our sweet 2 year old grandson with a terrific personality! He interacted with us and responds to our love so much it makes our hearts swell! Everyone in this world is different. Gary is different from every other child. Amazingly different.

  15. I so understand where you are coming from. All year has been a fight with the school for inclusion of our sweet Connor (who also has Ds). Today, I just spent an hour talking to the vice-principal because the whole kindergarten class went to the library. But, not Connor's class. They are in the Special Ed class. I questioned them as to why they didn't go. Today, I just feel like crying. He is so sweet and loves everyone, but, I have to fight to have him around the typical kids. I don't understand people, and why everyone can't be treated equal. I think it is the teachers, not so much the students, that really don't want to include our children. My heart hurts

  16. Being the Grandmother of a soon to be in kindergarten grandson with Downs .. my heart breaks thinking that this too may happen to him. I want to gather him and all my grandchildren in a protective bubble, but I know I can't. His parents are amazing, and I know if and when this situation comes up, they will handle it well. If it was me, I would probably run screaming to the school but that would not be beneficial to anyone... Thank you for sharing your story about your sweet Lila.

  17. It hurts, I know because I have 3 kids with DS. It also helps to remember that kids make fun of ALL kids. In this not so perfect world I have had that kind of day with everyone of my 6 kids. They came home from school and someone had laughed at them or said something unkind or they had not gotten invited to some party. And when they get older they get their heart broken many times in boyfriend/girlfriend relationships. Our kids with DS experience rejection and being made fun of just like all kids do.....and it sucks. Today will be a better day.

  18. Wow. Although it's not Down's that affects our life but another genetic disorder I can so relate to this. God bless.

  19. I have a friend whose little boy was disabled mentally as well and physically. We brainstormed together how we could help the other children understand Taylor's differences. His Mom prepared a presentation for the entire class, made it fun and educational at the same time. She and Taylor together explained why he was different and how important it was to him to be a part of the group. Take Lila's baby pictures in and show the class how cute she was, tell them the special things she can do that other DS children can't do, tell them that she will always be their friend, let them know how special she is to you and her family, let them ask questions, tell them to not be afraid and to not be embarrassed of Lila, and end it with a nice treat or prize. I think educating them will help them to understand. Taylor did so well he was nominated king for the junior prom. He became loved and admired by the other children. Maybe this could work.