People First

The kewl girls and I were in town today and we bumped into L, the manager of the community centre where we do music. We stopped to chat and during our conversation I mentioned that we were shopping for a birthday present for the girls' friend R, who also comes to music.
It took L a moment to remember R from the 20 other children in the group.. When she did, she said, "Oh yes, the little down-sie girl."

In response, Miss J frowned and said, "Her name is R, and she's not a down-sie girl, she's my friend."

I couldn't have put it better myself.

R is a person, not a diagnosis.
Down syndrome is what she has. It is not who or what or all that she is.

We are all people first. No matter what our abilities, no matter what our diagnosis, no matter how smart our brains or how agile our bodies, we are all people first.

To only see a label is to be, in Miss J's words, "A big smelly bum".


PlanningQueen said...

I love it when children teach adults about the important things in life.

Paul (Megan's best friend) said...

Megan's husband Paul here / No wonder Megan raves about your children and their exploits - big smelly bums indeed!
Our Boy is looking forward to being the big friend of the kewl little Khicks. Boy does not like those who try to make him an unflushed toilet. He is a gem.

debby said...

We have Rita in our family. When her mother went to a nursing home, her brothers and sisters had to argue a bit to figure out where she was going next, because everyone wanted her. It was finally decided that she'd do better in a rural setting, because that it what she knows. She lives in Missouri. Every year, we have a family reunion (I'll have to post pictures...) It is also Rita's birthday celebration. I love the fact that people come from all over to get together once a year, but what I love best is that they 'let' Rita be the star of the show because everyone loves her. She's in her forties, but beloved and happy in her life, with her very own cat, a job, and a family who loves her. I don't think anyone has EVER considered her a burden. She's just...Rita. I once wrote a column "Rita has a Birthday". It was one of my best loved stories. Everyone wanted to be part of my husband's family.

Melody said...

I couldn't have said it better than what planningqueen said.

Alison said...

PQ and Melody - Yes, me too.

Paul - Hello! We can't wait till we get to hang out with you guys. The kewl kids are super excited about having Boy for their big friend.
I am looking forward to meeting Boy because he sounds like a super star and he thinks of awesome emotional intelligence games.
We're looking forward to hanging out with you, too. :)

Deb - What a great family story, thanks for sharing it!

tiff said...

Very true.

Your girls are wise beyong their years.

baby~amore' said...

That is so true - having downs syndrome should not define R - she is a little girl.
The Kewl girls have so many lessons to teach us.

Alison said...

Tiff - They sure are. I love it when they share a bit of their wisdom :)

Trish - Yep, R is a wonderful young person and I think her and the kewl girls have made a pretty good start to their teaching careers already! lol