A Tale of Three: part 1

August 3rd, 2011

We are out on a date together, a date with a purpose.  We’re buying more items that I need for my trip to see Katerina–gifts for the orphanage caregivers, for our adoption attorney, for our missionary friends, gift bags and tissue paper, brightly-colored luggage tags so I can more readily pick my suitcases out of a crowd, shoes that are suited for international travel, and more.  Items to add to the growing pile in the corner of our bedroom.

My eyes catch her face from across the bustling room, and my heart skips a beat.  I crane my neck in a way that would be rude if anyone would notice, trying to see around the other forms that keep moving across my view.  Was my first glance…?  Does she…?

Yes.  I was right.  I recognize that face.  Emotion surges within me.  I can’t tear my eyes away.

Is she with her family?  I study the people surrounding her as best I can from my distance, and decide that she’s with a group of friends, all in their thirties and forties, all nicely dressed and obviously enjoying the occasion.  She appears to be one of the senior members of the group.

From her body language as she engages with her friends, she comes across to me as a natural-born leader, pleasant and others-focused, quiet but confident in her manner.

My husband and I chat about independent living versus assisted living, parental influence on long-term habits, self-motivation, and the ongoing capacity to learn.

To get to the cash register, we must walk right past her group.

My eyes are still fixed on her, and as we approach, she lifts up her face and I realize that I am smiling.  She looks directly into my eyes and smiles a smile without personal agendas hiding behind it.  It is a smile without walls.  A clear, warm smile that says, “I see you, and I like who you are.”

I am seized by a sudden impulse to give her a hug, but I second-guess myself, and propriety holds me back.  I know that in trying to explain my action, the tears would overflow.  I would blubber, and stumble over my words if I tried to tell her, “Thank you for the gift of that smile.  I have a little daughter with Down syndrome.  I would be very proud if she would grow up to be as fine as you are.”  If it wasn’t for those inevitable tears…

My feet keep walking, and the moment passes.

From behind my husband at the cash register, just a few yards away from her group, I continue to drink in every detail that I can before we walk out the door–her trim figure, immaculate manicure, courteous manners, and tasteful style.  The Scripture verse flits across my mind, “The lamp of the body is the eye.  If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.”

After a silence that lasts for several miles, my husband asks what I am thinking.

“I choose to believe that Verity will be like that lady,” I say.

“Then she probably will be,” says he.

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5 Responses to “A Tale of Three: part 1”

  1. Kendra says:

    Susanna I must choose when I read your blogs…making sure I have enough time and tissues nearby. I cried when I read this post. So beautiful…thank you. I am choked up…can’t say anymore.  Our prayers are with you and my heart is rejoicing for the sweet testimony you are…..thank you Father for the hearts you change & give your perspective to….so very beautiful.

  2. sabrina says:

    Beautiful beyond words.

  3. Marianne Stuart says:

    Oh, how I love to read your blogs. You have me in tears again. We have a young woman at our church with DS. She is 34 and her name is Jamie. She loved to rub my pregnant belly much to her mother’s chagrin. I didn’t mind at all. Now when I see her at church I make time to let her old my nine month old. On Sunday we got to sit right next to her. I was sitting by her and Jamie and my son started giggling. It was soooo cute but I wasn’t sure what our new priest thought about all of this taking place in the front pew:) I know out last priest would have been chuckling up on the altar. After communion, I let Jamie hold Andrew and it was joy watching the two of them interact. He had his fingers in his mouth and was pulling her hair. It made my heart feel good.

  4. Waiting on the edge of my seat for part 2 and 3!  Praying your preparation for travel is efficient!  Brandon and I were JUST talking about independent living…. 

  5. Deanna Rabe says:

    You have a beautiful way with words, Susanna.  I know that sweet Verity is going to be a delightful young woman.

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