Friday, October 2, 2009
Friday Thoughts From Family (Guest Blog Posts by Sean's Family)
“You will really enjoy Sean—Down syndrome children are so loving.”
Every time someone says that to me I grit my teeth. I feel as though I am supposed to react with something stupid like “I am so thankful that Sean has Down syndrome because now he is more loving.” No, I am mad that he has Down syndrome and would gladly accept his worst days, his extreme stubbornness and his flopping in exchange for him to have the life of a healthy child.
Is he more loving because of Down syndrome? I don’t know. He is a loving child who runs with his clumsy legs flying to throw himself around my legs when he sees me. He is a loving child who gave me the name of Grrrrrndpa! He is the loving child that shared with me one of the most moving moments of my spiritual growth.
Sean came to the altar with me one Sunday for Holy Eucharist. It was his habit to always go up front and Fr. Mike would give him a blessing. Over the course of time, Sean noticed that others were receiving a communion wafer and he was not. He began to complain. On the Sunday that he went up with me, he was standing beside me as I knelt to receive the bread and wine. I held out my cupped hands for the bread so Sean mimicked me and did the same. This Sunday the celebrant was Fr Larry, not Fr Mike. Fr. Larry did not know of Sean’s eating problems, for at that time Sean had never swallowed anything other than baby food. Fr. Larry placed the wafer in Sean’s hand, and before I could get it, Sean popped it in his mouth. I looked at Fr. Larry with the look of total terror—I knew from experience the Sean would spit it out—the bread that had been blessed, the Body of Christ. Fr. Larry saw my fright, and with wisdom beyond my imagination, he said simply, “It’s between Sean and Jesus.” Sean chewed on the wafer for awhile, pushed it around with his tongue and in a miracle that can only happen with God’s help—he swallowed the wafer, then turned and just beamed at me.
My sister and I used to ask my mother, “Which one of us do you like better?” And my Mom would always answer the same, “I love you both in different ways.”
Because Sean is a special needs person, it is hard to not feel something extra for him, to respond to those moments when he is total, pure love in motion. But I have 3 other grandchildren and I love them each in different ways. Sure I have been blessed by the way that Sean loves. I have also seen his other side. He’s a boy, he’s a 5 year old, he’s his Father’s son with a few of Doug’s less attractive characteristics, and I am thankful for every part of his personality because he is My GRRRRandson!!!
Written by Larry B. Minner, Sean's paternal grandfather