When the Love Magnet was just a couple of months old, Mr. Wonderful and I were at a jewelry store getting his wedding band fixed. While we were waiting we perused the jewelry. An older couple was in the store. They looked like they would have been farmers. The husband was trying to convince his wife to pick a ring for their upcoming anniversary. She kept protesting, saying that she didn't need jewelry. She emphatically stated that there were plenty other things to do with the money such as spend it on the children. The husband was getting frustrated.
I could not resist. I stuck my nose in their business. I sat down near her, caught her eye, and said "If the man you love wants to buy you something nice you should let him. He wants to show you how much he loves you. He is trying to tell you that you deserve it."
"Yes! That is what I'm trying to do!", Mr. Farmer exclaimed. I think he was glad that someone else put it into words. Mr. Wonderful was trying to catch my attention, no doubt to get me out of their business. It was obvious that Mrs. Farmer did not welcome my opinion.
A few minutes later their teenage daughter came into the store, dressed in a pink plaid western shirt and jeans. She was silhouetted against the bright light of the windows and I couldn't see her face. I didn't give her much thought until she started signing.
Her dad looked up and said "Oh, are you hungry? What do you want for lunch?" The girl signed again. As she moved closer My eyes adjusted to see her face. She had Down syndrome.
My heart nearly stopped and I had tears in my eyes. I whispered to the wife that I, too, had a daughter with Down syndrome. Mrs. Farmer's look changed. Where she had been slightly annoyed with me before, now I suddenly was recognized as a member of the T21 club. Boundaries dissolved. I produced a picture of The Love Magnet. We started talking.
I think we were there for 30 minutes longer than we planned. I don't remember the advice they gave us. This was the first family we had met who had a child with Ds and were willing to talk about it. Just being there with them was such a wonderful opportunity. Seeing their daughter, happy and healthy (and insistent that she needed a cheeseburger right now!) was incredible to me. Their daughter wasn't verbal, but she certainly could communicate. She was involved in horseback riding and rodeo activities. It was obvious that they loved her.
God bless that family. We needed them in our lives even if for just under an hour. I wish I had written down their name.
A few days later I was at a Halloween Buddy Walk with the kids in costume. We met Morgan and The Seal Bark family. My support system started. It was with Heather that we started a playgroup.