“What you see in the picture is completely different than what I see.
The only reason why I I know you view it differently than me is because I know something about one of the children that you don’t. You see two children holding hands and playing on a playground. Nothing special, just cute as usual. Children playing like they usually do, like they should be doing.
But it is so much more than just that. The little boy on the left has Down syndrome.
When we found out after he was born the doctor thought he had Down syndrome, we were shocked. Ultrasounds had showed a healthy boy, I was younger and had two other boys who were genetically typical. I cried and I wept uncontrollably but not because he had Down syndrome, because of how he was going to be made fun of, and thought of as less or not worthy by society. As a parent I never want my child to feel that kind of hurt and pain. The sadness was so deep, it crushed my soul.
I have learned a lot being Ronin’s mom for almost 5 years. We’ve had almost 5 years on this new journey that unveils new light almost daily. It is his light that I know he was meant to be here and has a purpose just like everyone else.Moments like these diluted my fear he would be rejected or would’t have any friends. When I received this image, I wept uncontrollably.
My son has a friend.
And it’s a natural friendship. I know for a fact this little girl doesn’t know Ronin has Down syndrome. I know children can point out differences but when the differences are very minimal I don’t think they choose to care. Ronin has had access to inclusion since his 1st year of preschool. In Ronin’s case, he needs inclusion as he is the master of mimic and receptive information. What he says, does and prefers is learned and enjoyed by him. But more importantly, kids in school also need access to Ronin’s inclusion. Children are children in every shape, color, or form and the younger they are exposed to children who are different than them, it’s just going to be something they have grown up with and won’t even see others as different or less.
So little girl that is holding my son Ronin’s hand you probably will never know the gift you have given me.
You have given me hope.
And for everyone else, how do you view that photo now?”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Erin Statz. You can follow her on Instagram here and Facebook here. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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