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Join Me Here Out on the Edge

January 30th, 2007

I’ve gotten quite used to this Down Syndrome thing, but sometimes the simplest things catch me off guard. Addison doesn’t walk yet, though all the kids his age do. In fact, they run, climb rocks, and stairs. I’ve gotten used to the little mile markers. Life happens slowly around our house, and we’ve grown to like it. When Addison sat up, I thought: Well, it will only be a few weeks, and he won’t need pillows around him anymore. That was 9 months ago. I’ve gotten used to hauling him around, though my muscles beg to differ. At 4 a.m. a few nights ago, I reached over to put Addison back in his crib after he woke up in the wee hours of the morning. When I tried to pull my arm away from his back, a nerve or a muscle snapped or pinched. It went deep. I couldn’t move.

One of the great things about living in Costa Rica is that I can have a person come to my home for massages and haircuts – even the vet comes to our house. (And, for my crazy dogs, staying out of the car is one big bonus.) I set up an appointment with the masseuse; she’d be coming the next day, but I still faced the day ahead. What to do? Run some errands!

After picking up my new pair of glasses, Addison and I stopped for lunch. The waiter asked me if I wanted a high chair. It was the first time I could say yes. This was a new milestone.

“Si,” I said. I hauled Addison out of the stroller and held him while we waited for the high chair. When the waiter appeared with the chair, my heart sank. The high chair was not the kind that would support my son. It was wooden – the kind sold on the roadside – and he could easily slip through the sides. My heart sank. But Addison was much too happy to go back in the stroller. I decided to give the high chair a try.

I had to sit Addison so close to the table, he could reach everything on it. I gave him the menu. He paged through it over and over again, talking and pointing as he looked. I held him with one hand while I ate with the other. Near the restaurant was a playground jammed packed with kids jumping off dinosaurs and running under the plastic tree. Many of the kids were Addison’s age.

I’ve always been different; I never really made it on the “inside.” Kids made fun of my hair in school; my mom put hot dogs in a thermos for my lunch; I wore clothes from the Goodwill; and I played the trumpet.

Addison grabbed a napkin. I asked him to give it to me. He spit it out and put it in my hand. It’s taken me a long time to get comfortable out here on the edge. It’s nice to have such good company.

4 Responses to “Join Me Here Out on the Edge”

  1. Sara T. on February 2, 2007 9:34 am

    Seems like you are in very good company as an expat in Costa Rica. We are a terribly odd bunch. I was thinking yesterday that here no one judges you on what you wear, how you look… it’s just so unimportant. I LOVE that because I NEVER looked right. Still don’t, but I’ve stopped trying. Nice to meet you on Sunday. Pura vida.

  2. Susan on February 2, 2007 10:15 am

    Maybe we can make bumper stickers: Odd is beautiful.

  3. April Dawn on August 12, 2007 4:14 pm

    I’ve never fit in anywhere either. Too different, too outspoken, too outside the box for alot of people.

    I know this blog post is several months old but still wanted to say GO Addison! I remember when my delayed son didn’t sit up or crawl til he was 11 months but was running by 13 months! Wouldn’t use sign language or verbal language clear up to age 3 and now he’s 3 years and 3 months and has an astonishing vocabulary! I think we appreciate these milestones more so than with children who hit them at “average” ages.

    Costa Rica’s laid back attitude and more accepting of children is two of the reasons I want to live there. I’m so tired of the ridicule and looks I get when I take my son out in public. Makes me almost stay home most days.

  4. Susan on October 20, 2007 11:05 am

    Come join us! You sound like a person I’d like to hang with out on the edge!