"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Two Men in My Life

My son Frank is a man of many talents. He is articulate, humorous, successful in business and a talented singer and musician. His many friendships have lasted a lifetime. He is a kind and caring human being. He didn't learn to be like that. I didn't have to teach him. It is in his nature.

My grandson Adam is equally impressive. When he was born, we realised how little we knew about Down's Syndrome. We had to learn. Adam taught us.

First they told us he wouldn't be able to nurse. It wasn't true. Social workers came to the house and talked about infant stimulation and limited expectations. What they said he couldn't do, he did.

Because of Adam and what he taught them, his mother and father became a positive resource for other young parents.

He learned but at his own pace. He had an abundance of caution. He never fell off a bed or a chair or down stairs. He scooted everywhere on his bum. He had more control that way. His mother and I each took a hand to encourage him to walk. He lifted his feet off the ground.

He loved the pool and watched his younger cousins in succession .as each got the nerve to jump into the deep end. He ventured in and all around, toes clinging to the small ledge and arms hugging the deck. When finally he did go off the diving board , he wore a life jacket. He 'd go with a shout ,down into the water. The jacket stayed afloat until he bobbed back up into it. We would shout at him to take it off. He would shout back in outrage “Do you want me to die”

He played all the usual sports and when he grew older, he bowled and played golf as well. Then another boy's Dad had a vision. A special league was formed and Adam went on the ice. After years of being number one fan at his younger brothers' games, Adam became a player too.

He 's the goalie in a league of different ages and skill levels. When he skates onto the ice, his team follows like a line of ducklings. They know all the chants and moves in the pre-game skate around. His brothers' help on the ice. His dad coaches. A young man of twenty-seven, who in his whole life had never been involved in anything or with anyone but his parents joined the league His Dad laces his skates for him and he takes to the ice with his team.

A small boy of eight, who almost never speaks, sits beside Adam and softly repeats his name
There is one skill Adam has not mastered completely He understands speech. He has a vocabulary of choice expressions and knows when to use them. He pronounces emphatically on his loves and hates. If he likes what I'm wearing he tells me “That's cute” But his conversation is mostly understood by cadence.

He has friends , a job and a special girl . At a party, he's a dancing fiend and now he has an ipod that keeps him movin' to the music. He is an inexhaustible break-dancer par excellence.

Adam grew up in Newmarket. He attended Canadian Martyrs and Sacred Heart High School until he was twenty-one . Last week he had his twenty-fourth birthday He is currently a participant in Special Olympics .He is a powerful swimmer.
We live in an age and a community of opportunity for everyone who wants to take it.

Youth Bocci is an annual magazine which provides sponsorships, encouragement and recognition for young people like Adam. So that they can strive like all the rest, to be the best that they can be.

And we are all the better for it.

I was asked to write this little piece for the magazine. My son Frank is a sponsor,my grandson Adam a recipient of one of their bursaries. I thought I would share.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Twins and Other Thoughts

The Baby Shower was a delight. The twins were the stars of the show. Everyone got to hold them They slept through it all in perfect peace and tranquility.

Vanessa went to Montreal with her mother Mary on Monday. She had to attend at the American Consulate . There are only two in Canada . One in Montreal and one in Vancouver.

Heather went to Kitchener to help her brother Stephen, the grandfather, take care of the twins
until Tuesday. The babies have to be fed every two hours on the hour. It's a very busy schedule.

Heather and her brother are good friends. He is the eldest of my children. Heather is number five. Thinking of them together with babies conjured up many memories.

Stephen was always first out the door when I brought a new baby home. He would be twelve years old when he took Heather from my arms.

When she was no taller than his legs were long, she would put her hands on her hips and leaning her head as far back as it took to look up into his face she regularly gave him a piece of her mind about how things were to be.

Their families would get together every summer, camping at Sandbanks Provincial Park. Now that his kids are grown,Stephen still goes down and joins Heather's family for a week. We discovered Sandbanks when my family were young and it's been a favourite place ever since. The games on the dunes were pretty much the same as those I played myself on the sandy hills of the shore in Scotland, where I grew up.

And this week she was happily engaged helping him take care of his new-born twin grandchildren.

Stephen is quite convinced, there are two tiny angels in his house.

They will leave soon when all the formalities are completed. To live and grow up all the way across the continent in Seattle, Washington.