Today, I hit a small roadblock on my journey of advocacy for Sienna. If I am honest, these moments can set me back. My roadblock came in the form of an adorable little girl who had a perfectly normal question for a kid to have. She saw me walking Sienna and stopped. She looked up at me and said, “Why do her eyes look that way?” I responded by telling her that her eyes were shaped like almonds, because she has something called Down syndrome. She stared at her some more and then walked away. Haley was with me and she looked up at me and said, “I think Sienna’s eyes are pretty.” My eyes began to water as I responded, “Me too, baby. Me too.”
It doesn’t seem like much of an altercation, but it took me back to a moment last year when a little boy approached Sienna and I and asked why she looked like an alien. This was a little boy I had to see at a weekly activity. He called Sienna an alien baby quite a few times. At the time, I wasn’t strong enough to approach his mom or even correct him. I just ignored it, which I still beat myself up over.
Moments like these knock the air out of you as a mother. You know your child is beautiful, but the world only sees something different. I will not always be able to protect my girls from insensitive comments that come from others. It terrifies me. It’s inevitable that some day Sienna will be hurt by the ignorance of someone. I just hope when that happens she has enough self worth to know that she is a beautiful perfect person.
The only sense of control I have over Sienna’s future is to educate others on how to accept and welcome differences. Some days, I am Wonder Woman and I am ready to go into battle. Other days, the simplest comment can make my eyes water and send me into a puddle of tears. I know there will be challenges on this journey. It’s okay to have roadblock days. Tomorrow, I will wake up ready to take on the world for my girls again. I wouldn’t change Sienna for the world, but I will change the world for her.
“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once, but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” – Michelle Obama