I’m going to start this blog off with a poem by e.e. cummings. He doesn’t title his poems, so you just have to slide right in:
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
unnecessary plastic objects that we simply cannot live without, has gone Trisomy-21. For those unfamiliar with this particular genetic configuration, it’s an extra 21st chromosome, commonly known as Down Syndrome.
I received three emails yesterday about the Target phenomenon. Target, and Nordstrom, good Glory, have begun using a little 6 year-old boy with Trisomy-21 in their ads. They didn’t make a big deal about it, it was written about by Rick Smith on the blog NoahsDad.com. And the press has gone wild.
He’s cute, yes? And, while I have some thoughts on how the press is handling it, I want to speak more to my little model, my Trisomy-21 boy, my heartbreaker. Mercy. The kid goes straight for the heart. Prior to having him, I was in a grandiose delusion of normalcy. I was stupid. A lunk. I loved learning new cultures, seeing people of different hues and beliefs, but on the subject of intelligence, I had a very small box definition. My son Cassius has expanded that definition for me. He has taken my dim-witted hand and looked into my eyes and waited. He has hugged me with all arms and legs wrapped and held me with a love that felt as if it came from some great well that I never knew existed. Cassius opened my ears and eyes and I never even knew that I was blind.
People with Trisomy-21 are a genetic roll of the dice that cuts out most of the neurotic aspects of being human. Sure, they get grumpy at times, headstrong, but their intelligence resides in the heart. They’re born naturalists and the have an emotional discernment and purity that people fork over thousands to therapists to attain.
So, Cassius has made me think. About intelligence. About who we shine the light upon and who we throw into the shadows.
I never thought I’d raise a cheer for Target, but they’ve broken some new ground here. For that, I say hurrah. Down Syndrome is trending. Who knew? And that Ryan’s cute, but not as cute as my kid.