A couple of weeks ago I had the finest pleasure of meeting Anthony. I’ve been told he’s in his 40’s.
He works at one of our local groceries stores in our area as a bagger/cart collector/anything that is needed in the front of the store. And he has Down syndrome.
I’ve known about him. Apparently my father in law works with a relative of his. I’ve seen him before, but I never had the courage to talk to him. I didn’t know what he would say or do… lets be honest, I was a tiny bit scared. Especially when you have a little one with Down syndrome and you don’t have a clue as to who your child will be in 5, 10, 20, 40 years! And when you meet an adult with Ds, sometimes you cant help but wonder, will my child be like him? Sometimes it can be a bit intimidating.
Although I am very accepting of Ethan’s Ds, and it honestly doesn’t scare me and I have the biggest and most amazing dreams for Ethan, every once in a while I have some concerns, just the way I do for my girls.
Anthony was sent to the back of the store to bring me my 40lbs of crawfish that one day. I wont lie, I was a bit giddy. I had whispered to Ethan, “look Ethan, he has Down syndrome, just like you” and kissed his sweet forehead.
Then he appears again, pushing a cart full of crawfish…. I waved him down and he followed me to the truck. Pushing the cart with Ethan along the bumpy concrete parking lot, I panicked what should I say to him, I have to talk to him… come on Erika, think of something!!!
Finally we reach the truck, looking at the huge bag of crawfish, I ask “is it heavy?”
“No, it’s not heavy” he assured me. I stared at the nasty little mud creatures actively moving around, “Will they pinch me?”
“No, they not gonna pinch you”…. he reassured me again.
“What’s your name?” I asked, trying to spark a conversation… “Anthony”
“Look Anthony, this is my son, and he had Down syndrome just like you, he is special, just like you!” I happily blurted out!
“No waaaaay!” he excitedly responded. “What’s his name?”
Anthony: “Ethan! What’s his last name?”
“Hey Saldana!” he told Ethan. “You like crabs?” he asked me, referring to the crawfish.
“I sure do, do you?”
Anthony: “yeah, I like crabs, who’s gonna cook them, you?”
“no, not me”
Anthony: “oh, your husband gonna cook them?”
Me: “He sure is”
Anthony: “what’s his name?”
And I missed what he said as I was trying to squeeze 40 HEAVY pounds of crawfish into an ice chest, but I believe he invited himself over… because then he said “he’s not gonna like me, he’s gonna be jealous”
Me: “who is going to be jealous?”
Anthony: “your husband, he not gonna like me… ”
He was a hoot! So outgoing and sociable. And God, it felt so good. Here I was having a conversation with a grown man with Down syndrome, granted, I think he was hitting on me, but he was such a pleasure. And I did reassure him that Sammy would not dislike him, rather love him like he was part of the family.
I cannot wait to babble away with Ethan and all of his stories he has to share with me.
All this time I was scared to approach Anthony, when he was one of the most approachable people I have ever come across.
Everything is going to be ok. I just know it.
(on another note: THANK YOU GOD!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK!!! The Supreme Court has overturned the Judge's ruling and Kirill is now a Davis! I am sure God always intended him to go home to his family in Alabama and all the bumps in the road where placed there for a purpose. Through it all eyes been opened, hearts have been touched and awareness raised through Kirill's adoption. Praise the Lord!)