Saturday, July 7, 2012

Down Syndrome and Sport.

If I'm talking "sport," I'm generally talking about running.  This is actually about botany, and I cannot take the credit one bit.  This post was written by my fellow Down syndrome mommy, Edie, whose sweet son Max is in heaven.  He would have turned one on June 1.  Although Max is no longer with us, Edie has shared her journal on Max's Carepages site.  Edie posted this last week and I asked if I could share it, because I thought it was one of the best pieces on Down syndrome I've read.  You can visit Max's Carepages site here, although you will need to create a log in.

I went to the cemetery today to water Max’s flowers. We have a hanging basket of bright yellow strawflowers there. Curiously, there is a “sport” now growing amidst the blooms. For those of you who might not be into obscure botany terms, a “sport” is defined as a sudden variation in habit of growth or blossom color from the rest of the plant or others plants of its kind. This is caused by a genetic change that may be accidental or spontaneous, or intentionally induced. Therefore, if an orange flower appears on a yellow variety of Mum, it is said to be a sport of that variety. At the edge of our beautiful basket of bright yellow strawflowers, there is a new strawflower plant growing. The blooms are pure pink.

Sport photo by Edie.
In horticulture, “sports” are a desirable thing. These naturally occurring variations spring to life randomly and unpredictably, but are valued precisely BECAUSE they are different. They add beauty, unexpected color and variety to the world. They bring delight and appreciation for the wonder of nature to be able to create such beautiful things.

Sweet Max.

Max had much in common with a “sport”. He had a different number of chromosomes than was “typical” and expected. We were repeatedly told, or warned with the direst predictions, how he would blossom “differently” than the rest of the world. Unlike the world of botany, this difference was not appreciated or celebrated in any way. Because Max was expected to bloom at a slower rate, and with different size and color of flowers than most children, he was viewed by much of society and most especially the medical professionals we dealt with as “undesirable". He would require more care, have special needs. His “care instructions” might have a few more steps than the typical flower. But what they missed when confronting us with their solemn faces and hushed tones delivering the words “cognitive disability” “genetic defect” and their oft repeated advice of “termination” is the beauty, joy, and unexpected colors Max brought to our lives.

- Edie Newcomb

Thank you Edie, and Max, for sharing with us.  We are so grateful for the "sports" who share this extra chromosome:





"Sport" text rights belong to Edie Newcomb.  Photos are courtesy of Edie, as well as the parents of the cuties pictured. 
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  1. That was really, really beautiful. I learned something, and had something reinforced. Time for the world to celebrate the differences as we do.

  2. Beautiful. Thank you Edie, and Megan for sharing. So true. Will cuddle my 'sport' extra tight tonight and be thankful for the blessing he is in our lives x

  3. That was beautiful. I'm grateful for our "sports". Mine has made my life far more colorful than it would have been without her. I'm grateful for all the online sports too. They show me all the awesomness I have to look forward to. What a blessing to see it so vividly portrayed.

  4. Oh my, I just got chills. Love our sports!

  5. Ohh, how incredible! I have no words.

  6. Wow, this was beautiful. Loved it!

  7. That is beautiful! Thank you for sharing it! I can't beleive it's been a year already.

  8. What a wonderful analogy and I learned something. "Sport" a blessing indeed. Keeping you in my prayers.

  9. What a great post! Love the pictures :)

  10. Thank you so much for sharing Edie's writing. It's beautiful and definitely made me misty eyed.


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