Even though she has an undesired, greatly feared disability, I sure do think, “Why can’t you be more like Ellie?” a lot.
I was scared of her before she was born. If I’m being honest, I am still scared of her. I obsess about her Down syndrome making her seem less than everyone else. I worry about her getting passed over for future sleepovers or playdates. I don’t know if she will be able to take care of herself or keep from being taken advantage of.
But even just yesterday morning on the ride to school, I thought, “Why can’t you be more like Ellie?”
While I was driving, I watched her out of the corner of my eye in the rear-view mirror as she danced and sang with uninhibited, complete joy. Her arms waving to the beat and her feet kicking the back of my chair as she sang – head back, eyes closed, swaying the music. Smiling that smile that lights up the world and clapping between choruses, like the song was written just for her.
Ellie is authentic. She is who she is and her enthusiasm is contagious.
When she gets hurt, she takes a minute to cry. Her whole body smiles when she is happy. She has the best pouty lip when she is sad and gives the very best bear hugs in our entire family.
If she is mad or thinks she is right, she says her piece and stands her ground. When she is scared, she just wants to hold someone’s hand.
She is quick to forgive and easy to please. I have never met anyone more curious or creative and eager to learn. When she sets her mind to it, there is really nothing you can do to stop her. She doesn’t like to see anyone unhappy and is very good at pulling pranks to make you smile.
She wants to be helpful. She is everyone’s biggest cheerleader and always makes it a point to say hello to any person or dog she sees. If she doesn’t want to do it, she isn’t going to waste her time on it.
She begins every interaction from a place of believing everyone is good. She thinks every day was made special for her and she actively makes the most out of them.
Why can’t we all be more like Ellie?
October is Down Syndrome Awareness month. A lot of time is spent trying to convince people who don’t have Down syndrome that people who do have Down syndrome are worthy. After watching Ellie, I can’t help but wonder, maybe we have that upside down.