October is fast approaching, and with it comes Down syndrome Awareness month. Lots of families are contacting Oprah about doing a DS awareness show, since she never has, and this is her last season.
So, I put in a submission. Its kind of blah, but it's all I could think of.
My 14 year old daughter and I wind through the que for the roller coaster. She is anxious to get on the ride, while I am quite nervous. We've never been on this one before. She is giddy with excitement, anticipating the feeling of her stomach rising and falling with the great climbs, drops and loops-de-loops the ride is going to make.
When it's our turn, she gets the added thrill of getting the front car while I cringe with dread. She climbs in, pushes the bar onto our laps, and throws her hands in the air. "Do it mom!" she says. Not me! I grab the bar and hang on for dear life. We ride the ride together, me with my eyes shut, waiting for something bad to happen. Going up the first hill I open them just long enough to glance at her. There she is with her hands in the air, eyes wide open, laughing and screaming for more. That's when I realized it: that is exactly how she lives her entire life, this child of mine who I was told would never survive, would never walk, or talk. This child with Down syndrome who people tease and stare at. I need to open my eyes more, to throw my hands in the air and ride the ride with my eyes wide open. I need to feel that careless abandon. Maybe if we all rode this ride called life like my daughter, we'd learn more of what we're supposed to be learning here.
Last week she attended a camp for teens with disabilities and was chosen to speak to the financial supporters about her camp experience. I laughed when they told me this, because they acted like I'd be surprised. What they didn't realize was that giving Angela a microphone was putting her in her best element! Giving her an audience is a little like putting miracle grow on a plant.
My daughter has a message for everyone. I'd love for you to hear it, Oprah.