Just yesterday, my boss and I were rolling our eyes over all the writing contests we’re forced to enter each year — that endless search for approval in the subjective world of journalism. (Not so subjective now that you can count web hits — a dangerous direction. I’m fairly certain I have colleagues who sit home and click on their own stories again and again and again in a desperate grab at job security.)
But really, we’re all looking for approval, all the time. It’s why I was so excited last night when I opened Sophie’s backpack, took out her red folder and found a note inside. On the outside of the folded sheet, someone had handwritten Sophie’s name, and “Shhhh — this is a small kid party.”
I opened the birthday invitation, wondering, why would anyone care about keeping the fact that the party’s for little kids a secret? Then I realized, OH — not all the kids in the class are invited. But Sophie is. Someone loves her.
And I know that the little girl having the party does love Sophie. At least, I think she does. These things suck when you stop to think about them. Is the mom just being nice? Either way, I’ll drive the girls the half hour to ballet this Saturday morning, then grab Sophie at the end of her class, wisk her off to the party (another half hour) then back to get Annabelle from her class (another half hour) and back home (you get the picture, at least gas prices are down).
I loved the rush I got when I realized my kid — particularly this kid — was invited to this exclusive gathering. But then came the inevitable questions.
What would it be like to never have those questions? I suppose the very conceited (although even the most self-assured journalists I work with clamor to win contests, acting like they don’t care but occasionally showing their cards) could tell you. And so, I’m guessing, could Sophie. I don’t want to generalize, but isn’t that supposed to be one of the joys of having a developmental disability — not constantly doubting yourself and the world, taking pride in your accomplishments and holding your head high?
The Simple Life. (Not Paris Hilton’s.)
I don’t know. I maintain (and fear) that Sophie will be just smart enough to know she’s not smart enough, and this morning I looked hard at that kid with Down syndrome on that Today Show segment about high school basketball and thought, Man, I hate this story. A lot. The kid filled water bottles for what, 9 years, so they gave him a few minutes on the court — and probably some gimmee shots? Here’s the piece:
I couldn’t tell, looking at the kid’s face, if he knew. I hope not. He looked happy as his teammates ruffled his hair.
I hope Sophie has a good time at that birthday party Saturday.
I hope some insecure writers win some awards this year.
I hope someone hits me over the head so I can stop thinking about this stuff so much.