What if…?

Wil Basketball

Wil loves to play outside when he gets home from school. He doesn’t come inside for a snack. Its straight off the bus and onto his trike, or to blow bubbles, or to play basketball.

On Friday, he chose basketball. He grabbed the ball from the garage and went out to shoot hoops.

We have the hoop set at 7 feet. Wil takes the ball in both hands, squats down and holds it low between his knees, hefts up and…

SWOOSH! 2 points!!

We both celebrated and he does it again. Even in the midst of his success, he stops to give mommy a turn. If I miss, he encourages me to try again. When I make it, he jumps up and cheers.

I thought, Wil is going to love being part of a team sport and will be a great asset to that team. He wants success for others as much as he does for himself.

Then, I wondered how good Wil would be at basketball if he didn’t have Down syndrome.

I surprised myself with this thought, because I just don’t go there. But, I’m writing about this because I think it’s a very natural thing to do. We see our kids work so hard for things typically developing kids do with ease. In the midst of their struggles, to see them shine is a special thing, indeed.

Though these types of thoughts may crop up, it is very dangerous to follow their lead. The focus is not on the gifts of our children, but the limits of their diagnosis.

It’s not that I’m in denial that Wil has Down syndrome or that he has delays associated with that extra, little chromosome. Down syndrome is certainly part of his life, but it’s not who he is.

A child’s skills, or lack thereof, does not define who they are. Each child has their own personality, and the way they share and use their skills is as unique and special as who they are.

If my focus remained on Wil’s Down syndrome on the basketball court, I would miss seeing the thrill in his eyes over being on the court with his teammates, and only take note of how he doesn’t run down the court as quickly as his peers. I will see his shots, but I won’t fully rejoice in them, because my thoughts would be stuck in the “what if’s.” I wouldn’t fully appreciate how he cheers every teammate on with his whole being, and how he delights in every success. I wouldn’t feel the power of his unswayed spirit when his team loses, because he will be full of excitement for the next game.

That sure would be a lot to miss out on!

The best gift I can give Wil, and myself, is to keep my focus on Wil, and not the limits of a diagnosis. That way I can fully encourage and delight in Wil being the best of who he is as an individual. Sure, he may not shine in the same way other kids do, but because its his own way, he shines all the brighter.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kodiak My Little Grizzly
    Apr 28, 2013 @ 16:58:09

    It’s only natural to wonder what if! I do it all the time. It actually helps me.. I try to figure out if my kid was so called “normal” as my other two… How would he be different, what might he be thinking… Etc… It helps me try to understand him in a way he can’t communicate. Awesome job Wil at the shots!!! 🙂


  2. mamajoyx9
    Apr 29, 2013 @ 04:11:51

    I can’t even imagine Noah without Down syndrome. It is in every single thought I have about him. But there is a wave of pain that comes when I even try to think about him minus the Down syndrome. Maybe I’ll imagine it some day. Today is not the day. Don’t know if that’s good or bad – it just is.



    • Christie Taylor
      Apr 29, 2013 @ 19:12:59

      Hi Alyson,

      Thank you so much for sharing your perspective! I agree, I don’t believe there is a general good or bad in this that can be applied to everyone. We all have our own ways that work for us. If its right for you and Noah, then its good 🙂

      Hugs to Mr. Noah! 🙂



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