Saturday, October 16, 2010

Oct 16th: Monica and David...Saw it, Processing it, Some Thoughts

Like most parents of kid's who have that extra chromosome, I have been awaiting the release of the film "Monica and David" for about a year now. Trailers I saw until now seemed very hopeful, it was about a couple who have Down syndrome who fell in love at one of their classes (Life skills or something like that), and were married. It follows them for the first year of their marriage. Here are some thoughts. Random, as I am still (like most, I am sure) processing like crazy in my mind...
  • Monica is about my age, my generation. When she was born, the general advise was for parents to give up their children who had Ds. Her Mom did not, decided to raise her and ended up doing so on her own. Marriage broke up. Same for David's Mom, but I have a feeling David is a little bit younger than Monica. This is positive to me. Here is where these Moms were pioneers for their children. These are the Mom's who started and continued the movement, and I am grateful to them for that. When Monica went to school, I am sure there was NO inclusion to speak of. Imagine what she could have learned if there was? She most certainly did not come across dumb, I actually was amazed at how smart and poised she is. She is just naive (and I do not mean this in a bad way, it was just thst she was not exposed to things!!!)
  • Monica's Mom said that because Monica did not go to College and does not have a car, they were able to afford a large wedding. I like that they did this, they gave Monica and David a wonderful day in the sun. It was a gorgeous wedding, I hope to be able to provide my kids that one day*, too.
  • I am NOT going to give up hope for Annelies to go to College. I think where it comes to Down syndrome and other special needs, there is a huge collecive changing-of-the minds that takes place over a long period of time. Where 50-40 years ago parents finally believed (and fought for the belief) that their kids could live at home with them, 30-25 years ago parents started fighting and are making headway to full inclusion in schools. Technically, "Full Inclusion" is now a reality not only in the US but also in other (Western) countries). But it is not the same from one place to the next. We are lucky (or were we smart? I still think back how funny it was that we both wanted to live in Loomis because of its school district at a time we did not even want kids, and thought we would never have any. Funny!!!) to be living in an AWESOME school district.
  • Monica's and David's Moms addressed a HUGE paradox, and I admire them for it. They both said they feel an absolute need to protect their children from the outside world. It was plainly evident that David would be totally up for working at Publix, the local supermarket. His Mom does not want him to, and he pretty much surrendered to her desire. When the time comes, I hope to be strong enough to allow my kid to do what she feels she needs to do. Both Aaron and I had jobs as young teens, and I would love it if my kids do something similar. We both had the drive to be independent, and I want to instill this need in the kids. Yes, we will ALWAYS be there for them, like my parents are there for me right now! Bot by god, I will do what it takes to give my kids the tools they need to make the most of their lives, 'special need' or not.
  • There is NO DOUBT there will be bullying. And it will SUCK. And I will want to stand up to the bullies to protect my kids but I won't be able to (without subjecting my kid to more of it). I was bullied when I was younger to. I read statistics that nearly EVERYBODY gets bullied at some point in time. It appears to be a part of life, and I will NOT be able to protect my kids from it. What I can do, as a parent, is help instill a healthy sense of self, a good feeling of confidence that hopefully allows my kids not to take those things said by bullies to heart. That will allow them to value their real friendships. Monica's mom gave a HUGE message for us parents of young ones out there, and I paraphrase: We, the parents of our kids, are the ones who TEND TO HOLD THEM BACK THE MOST because we think we are protecting them. Very profound. (I know kids that did NOT have special needs that were protected by their parents so much to the point there is no way they could buid an independent life. It happens, not only to those in the sn community...) I applaud this lady for being able to step back and take an objective view. She is a link in the chain to progress for our kids, and we are the ones who have to continue building that chain, and breaking down the "world's" expectations.
  • So yes, I was dissappointed in parts of the movie, but I have to keep in mind the genertional differences. This made me see the positives. We are all here to learn. I like to believe that we all learn from the generations before us, and the generations after us will learn from us. That was what I took away from it...



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