A message from mom: Last Wednesday evening I tried to convince Sarah to go with me to Columbus. I had a meeting at the College of Social Work at The Ohio State University the next day where we were likely to discuss Sarah’s scholarship and the new Adult Down Syndrome Clinic just established at the OSU Medical Center. But that’s not why I wanted Sarah to go with me. I wanted to take her to Borders Books and Music on Friday. To meet Sarah Palin. I wanted Sarah to meet Sarah.
Now for those who know me, really know me, I can hear what you're saying, “Joyce, I thought you were a die hard equal rights, burn your bra, women deserve a choice, liberal kind of gal. Why would you want to meet Sarah Palin?” This wasn’t about politics. It was about meeting another mom. One who belongs to the same T21 club as me. A working mom. Trying to balance many hats, hers much more public and probably more important than mine. Yet at the end of the day, we both kiss a sweet little pug nose positioned between two adorable almond shaped eyes. We snuggle that thick soft neck while holding the short little fingers and we wonder what the future holds.
For several months now, our blog has been getting frequent hits from Wasilla, Alaska. If you’re like me, until the Palin’s arrived on the national scene you never heard of Wasilla. We know from the media, it is not very big. Quite small in fact. So I have been wondering if someone from the Palin family has been reading our blog. Specifically, has Sarah Palin been glimpsing at the real life of our high school graduate? A twenty something with Down syndrome. I was curious to see if she recognized Sarah when we walked up to the table.
I will never know the answer to that question. Why? Because Sarah refused to go with me to Columbus. My Sarah, the one sporting the extra chromosome, the one that many believe is not worth living, told me she could not miss work. I was trying desperately to convince her to just skip it. But she was telling me, with greater conviction, that she must report to her job.
I thought a lot about that exchange as I drove to Columbus. Alone. Most folks I know would jump at the chance to skip work for two days. Many would camp out in the store parking lot the night before just to be the first in line to see a celebrity. They’d wave their autographed book in the air when they returned on Monday to show others they had rubbed elbows with the famous woman. They wouldn’t think twice about missing their job responsibilities.
Not my Sarah. She takes her job very seriously. For the past month or so she has been working in the dining room of a nursing home. Her task is to wash all the plastic menu covers after they have been used that day. Nothing glamorous. In the grand scheme of life, not very important. Yet to those hundred or so residents who will look at those menus tomorrow, it is a very important job. They want their plastic covers to be free of sticky finger prints and germs. They count on Sarah to make that happen. And for that, I am so proud. Afterall, isn’t that what all parents want? For their adult children to be responsible, hard working and happy.
Maybe one day we will meet Sarah Palin. And if I do, what would I tell her? Slow down. Enjoy Trig. Savor every moment. Don’t worry so about the future. Just be. The rest will follow.