One of the overwhelming sensations I've had since my youngest was diagnosed is this sense of being in a bubble, one that's segregated from everyone else and their own perception of the world. I feel totally separate and apart from everyone else. It's not that anyone has done anything wrong or that I think I know better but I simply feel my world is divided from the masses. One of the feelings that often creeps into my mind is 'I wonder what the future holds' - this has so many connotations that it would be impossible for me to articulate where that question can take me.
Then today, I was confronted with what my future might be. It was like opening a window into possibility...no certainties exist but I'm always intrigued when I see someone else who I would consider 'part of the club'. I stopped into a coffee shop to grab a quick drink to go. As I waited in the queue I noticed a mother and daughter in front of me. I instantly sensed something was different - simply by the body language and how her mother was talking to her. As the girl turned to me it was clear she had DS. I felt an overwhelming sense of connection to this mother and daughter. I wanted to talk to them but that probably would have made me look crazy but I almost wanted to say 'Help! How do I navigate this path to where you are now? How do I make sure my daughter is happy? Safe? Living life?' Obviously I wasn't brave enough to voice all those thoughts but I'm sure if I had the mother probably would've taken pity on me and shared some of her wisdom, or at least I hope she would have done.
As I waited for my coffee I watched them find a table, sit opposite one another and have a conversation. The girl kept her head bowed most of the time - perhaps she was shy, maybe embarrassed or maybe that was simply how she preferred to sit. Her mother got up from the table to use the bathroom and I noticed that this young lady virtually tried to disappear in her seat so people wouldn't look at her. I could've cried. I wanted to tell her to hold her head up with pride - she was a beautiful girl. Lovely long hair, a gorgeous face, definitely not one to vanish from the world. I wondered instantly whether that would be my daughter in the years to come. Whether she too would feel the need to shy away or feel out of place in this very, at times, hostile world. It opened up worries and anxieties that are ever present but rarely shared.
Coffee in hand & thoughts stowed away, I left that little window behind me. I closed it for the time being but I didn't lock it. The future is the unknown and although I was able to paint words from this simple little scene, there's every chance this young lady was having a quiet day - maybe she didn't want to go for coffee with her mum (she was a teenager after all!), maybe she'd been out with her friends the night before and was feeling delicate or maybe she was having an off day. You see, every moment that you capture and fill in the gaps, can either be accurate or inaccurate. You can chose whether to see the negatives or find the positives. Although this little moment tugged at my own insecurities about the road ahead, I might not have been seeing it clearly. The fog clouds your own thoughts that sometimes you project your own concerns on to others. I might never be able to fully lock away those troubles but I can try to always balance them against what could be. What could be is a mystery but it might be wonderful...wherever our bubble takes us, we will (like the mother and daughter I observed) be there together.
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