The leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society
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Letting David Go
Letting David Go

My great story is about my son, David now ten years of age. I was inspired reflecting on my own experience with him in relating to another dad’s story about his son, who has autism. At times, it is challenging for me to let go of some of my notions about how to be for my son. My own childhood experience and desire for him as well as my experience as a parent with his two older siblings shaped my views for him long before he arrived. Such was the case when we entered a local supermarket a year or so ago now. Unlike his older brother and sister, at nine years old he required a lot of attention at times and even though he is smaller in stature than others his age and not too heavy, we are past the years of shouldering and calling out “duck” for head clearance when we go under doorways. Now, I like it when he reaches for my hand when we make the trek across the parking lot to the store front. He puts me on high alert when he insists on walking without holding my hand through this hazard zone, however. That was how it was when we entered the store that day, me on high alert and my son free to take-off for the end displays in front of the long row of empty check-out lines. When he did, my initial reaction was to run after him but I checked myself and let him go. The sales floor area in front of the check-out lines, usually bustling with patrons was virtually empty. I realized he was not in any danger, that he did not want or need my assistance, and I simply watched him as he worked his way across the check-out line displays until he got to the last one, perhaps as much as five minutes later. When he reached the end, I noticed two women, who had entered from the other end of the store, walk by him a short distance, stop, and turning around to face him seemed to be concerned about where this child’s parent was. Perhaps there was a verbal exchange between them and David as I stood waving both my arms to get their attention. I imagining he greeted them with his warm inviting smile as I watched him give hugs to them both. I realized I was not going to get their attention from where I stood. Since David had exhausted his opportunity in end displays I walked towards them to reassure the women and to gather David for our other purpose that day… shopping for his favorite foods. Having had some time for himself, he was happy to walk back the way he had just come to the produce section of the store.

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