January 12, 2009
By Camille Kinsey, Culver, IN

The spit dangled down from my mouth angling so it would hit my target. I sat upon my throne, the rocket shaped jungle bars with friends. We owned the 2nd grade playground and we knew it. The rusty metal bars of the rocket separated us from the unclean masses, and we were very protective of our elite space. That’s why my spit was currently spiraling making direct contact with Joey Mineola’s shoe. He of course looked up, smiling at us like he was in on a personal joke. The truth is I hated Joey Mineola, with all my 7 year old heart. He always lumbered over during recess and said “Hi” like the pervious days like I didn’t try and humiliate him. I hated his spit on shoes, I hated is huge smile, I hated the slow way he talked; I hated the way he was different. My mother didn’t share my feelings towards Joey. She told me to try and make friends with him because he was “mentally disabled” and was “special”. However I graduated elementary school without any changes in my attitude or regrets.
Years later in the 7th grade when I had forgotten Joey Mineola I found out my mother was pregnant again at the age of 48. I was neutral about the subject only perhaps just a little touchy that I would have to share some of my old possessions with my new sibling. I was ecstatic however when my mothers water broke on a Thursday morning. I was allowed to skip school and go with her and my father to the hospital when my little sisters still had to go to school. Apparently having a baby wasn’t as exciting as I thought; I had to sit with my father in the waiting room for hours and I even forgot to pack my game boy to pass time with. Finally the doctors took pity on me and let me into my mother’s room. My mom and dad were both in the room but the baby wasn’t. Even though my parents weren’t saying anything there was still an eerie stillness in the air as if breathing too loudly would ruin something delicate. “Where’s the baby?” I asked. My mother told me that “It was a baby girl and her name was Anna”. My question was unanswered so I tried asking again. My father’s eyes met mine and sternly told me they were doing some tests on her to see if she was ok. My eyes widened and I anxiously asked what would be wrong. My father said that Down syndrome babies are often born with birth defects.
Words escaped me as I numbly remember sitting. I wasn’t the same person as I was in elementary school but I still knew the negative connotations surrounding disabled people. I recalled many moments when my schoolmate would call each other retarded when they blanked on something or messed up. Incoherent thoughts started whirling around my head and I couldn’t seem to stop and connect them. What were we going to do with her? What would my mother tell other people? Would I have to live with a Joey Mineola? This child, my sister, would never be able to experience a normal life. She would never be able to feel happiness like I would; she would constantly be ridiculed by her unaccepting peers. I vaguely wondered what the wetness covering my checks was and I realized that I had been crying. A nurse abruptly came in snapping me out of my spiral of thoughts. The obnoxious nurse handed the baby to my mother and said that “Anna was perfectly healthy”. I glared at the women, how could she joke like that? Obviously the baby was not healthy, it had Down syndrome.
As the baby was being placed in my mother’s arms, I morbidly watched what my mother’s reaction would be. As the child was placed in my mothers arms she let out a glowing smile and cooed as she kissed the baby’s check. She evidently missed my look of disbelief because she continued by saying “It’s my baby girl, she’ll always be my innocent baby girl.” In my senior year of high school I often hear my mother say that god blessed her with one obedient nice child after 4 little demons and I can only agree with her. Anna continues to be my favorite reason for coming home. I can’t wait to tear her away from Barney and play games with her. When Anna smiles she doesn’t do it to mislead someone or to shut someone up. Anna often smiles because she is truly happy and the joy is contagious. I feel envious of her pure intentions and her carefree nature. Unfortunately so many people are uncomfortable around disabled children and adults because they are different. What they don’t understand is that they are often what people always ask for in others. They are by nature nice, guanine, and always there for you.

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This article has 1 comment.

Bethani GOLD said...
on Mar. 15 2010 at 6:43 pm
Bethani GOLD, Highlands Ranch, Colorado
10 articles 0 photos 508 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is perfect until you sit back and realize how boring it is without risks.

I completely agree with you. This is a great topic and a wonderful story. so many people have problems in their life such as disorders or physical or mental handicaps. this doesn't make the people less important or dumb. it makes them humble and learning to love what they have in their lives. i have a learning disorder and i was told i could never make a life for myself and get good grades. but i have a 2.5 gpa now in 11th grade and im a peer counselor. i just got a letter in spirit band for my high school. they were SO wrong!

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