The Gift that Keeps on Giving
Yesterday, I wrote about my sister-in-law Debbie and what an awesome mother she is. In that post I mentioned Courtney and that I would write more on her later. Well, this is the follow up to that story.
I had the pleasure of Courtney coming into my life when she was four years old. Interacting with a Downs Syndrome child was not new to me as I had a cousin close to my age who had special needs as well. I learned at an early age that they were very special people and that they have a uniqueness about them that endears them to your heart.
If you have never had the opportunity to interact with a child or adult with this condition, then you are missing out. They have a love and compassion that knows no boundaries and Courtney is certainly no exception to the rule. From the first moment that we met, I knew that we were going to hit it off and hit it off we did.
Courtney is personality plus, kind and one of the funniest people that you will ever meet. I tell Debbie all the time that she could have her own TV show. The way that things come out of her mouth with the innocence of a child but the wit of an adult astounds me every time I am around her. At 22, mentally she is at a much lower educational level yet at times I believe that she is way smarter than many adults I know, myself included.
Once of the things I admire most about Courtney is her desire to serve. Put her in the kitchen and you will think you are at a five star restaurant. Take her to a restaurant and she immediately joins the staff and becomes a seater. Visiting a local restaurant where she and Debbie are patrons is an experience in itself. She commands attention from both the staff and the patrons with a sense of love and caring that is beautiful to watch.
If you ever meet Courtney, first she will show you her nails and then she will advise you that a color you are wearing matches her clothes. This is a given. Spend a little more time with her and you will discover that sitting in front of you is this incredible person that just permeates your entire being and she will quickly carve a place in your heart that will be hers forever.
One of my pet peeves is to see people with negative reactions to special needs children and adults. I have been known on occasion to share my thoughts on that with the people themselves, which often catches them off guard. Sometimes it is lack of knowledge, sometimes it is the fear of the unknown and often it is just down right stupidity. Anyone who has spent any time around special needs people understand that they come with challenges but at the end of the day the rewards far exceed any challenges they may present.
I have had the blessing of having four special needs (not just Down’s) children/adults in my life in one way or another: Courtney, Lauren, Clifford and Dara. For that I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world for them to have allowed me to share a little part of their life. When they give you the gift of their love and compassion, it truly is the gift that keeps on giving and what’s more beautiful than that?
Remember to be the reason someone smiles today.