Copyright © 2013 Stephen Hawley, all rights reserved.
I was tucking Stuart in the other night. He had misbehaved, so he lost bedtime story privileges. As I tucked him in, I told him that I loved him and he was my favorite boy. He started crying – just a few tears that I wiped away. He was rolling over away from me and I said, “hey buddy, what’s wrong?” He slowly rolled onto his back and stared up at the ceiling and said, “Dad, I wish Alice didn’t have Down syndrome, because everything would be better.”
Wow. This is the type of thing that is a signal that the waters are running deep and it will take a little time to figure out what’s really going on. I asked why he thinks that. He told me that he really wants someone to play with and that it’s not fair because he wants “to play Lego Star Wars, but Alice can’t play it and the only other people who can play it are mommy and you and mommy’s not very good at video games.” It was poignant and honest. I told him that I understood and that it was OK to feel that way, but I didn’t think that everything would be better if Alice didn’t have Down syndrome: it would just be different. How it would be different is something we can’t know. Alice is a very loving little girl and he’s lucky how much she loves him. “yeah, but dad! She’s a gossip!” I smiled. I asked him what a gossip was. He was confused – he thought being gregarious (Alice is a people person) meant being a gossip. Glad I asked. At any rate, I told Stuart that he was just shy around new people, and that’s fine just like Alice likes meeting new people is fine too.
I’m sorry that he feels lonely and can’t play with Alice as he’d like to all the time, but we can’t always choose that, can we?