Today Noah and I hung out with one of my smartest friends, and his kid-o’s. I happen to have a lot of friends who are smarter than me. Like way smarter than me. Which basically means one of two things:
- I’m friends with a lot of geniuses, or
- ________ I’ll let you fill in the blank.
Either way my friend John is one of the geekiest / crazy-smartest people I know. Want proof? He recently wrote about a project he’s working on that involves smuggling Bibles into foreign countries on small microchips. See, I told you so. (Oh, and I did mention he also makes really awesome birthday cakes!)
John’s also one of the first people I called when I found out Noah was born with Down syndrome. I consider him a great friend and enjoy getting to hang out with him and his equally as awesome family.
The Blessing Of Childhood Innocence
John’s son Charlie is a few years older than Noah, doesn’t haven’t Down syndrome, and completely adores our son. It’s so much fun watching them play together.
As I was watching these two kid-o’s play today it made me think about how blessed Noah is to have a friend like Charlie in his life. I know that Charlie is only a toddler and doesn’t have any idea that our son has Down syndrome, or any idea that Noah is any different than any other of his play friends. But today there was no comparing, no misunderstanding, no confusion, no awaked moments….just two little boys playing and having fun.
To my friend’s 3 year old son, Noah was just Noah.
The Fading Of Childhood Innocence
But this will change one day. One day Charlie will begin to wonder why Noah is different. Charlie will begin to ask questions. Childhood innocence will fade.
This doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. In fact it can actually be a good thing. Heres why:
Thankfully I know John and his wife well enough to know they will handle Charley’s questions well. They will teach their son about Down syndrome. They’ll teach their son to love and respect, and include people that are different than he is. And Charlie (hopefully) in turn will help other people (who may not have parents like he does) to do the same as he grows up and goes into the world.
Yelp, children like Charlie can grow up and change the world.
The Charlie’s of the world grow up helping others to exchange cycles of ignorance with cycles of acceptance.
I like that.
Childhood Innocence Fades, But Friendship Doesn’t Have To
I really hope Charlie and Noah stay friends as they get older. I hope that there are lots more days where Charlie and Noah just play. Just have fun. Days like today where Noah isn’t treated as the poor little kid with Down syndrome, but as just a regular little boy who likes playing with wooden cookies just as much as the next kid. I hope one day Charlie calls Noah up and asks him to go to the movies, or to the high school football game, or to come over and just hang out.
I hope Charlie continues to look more at what he and Noah have in common than what he and Noah have in different. I hope Charlie always sees Noah not as being ‘disabled‘ but as being able. Very, very able.
I hope Noah has lots more friends like Charlie in his life. Lots more friends who see him as a peer. Friends who love him, accept him, and show him that he is valued. That he is able. That Down syndrome isn’t that big of a deal.
I hope every person born with Down syndrome has a friend like Charlie.
Does your child have a Charlie in their life? Take a second to leave a comment below and tell me about one of your child’s ‘Charlie’s.”