Saturday, January 21, 2012

Differences

Most of you know, of course, that Corgi  means "dwarf dog" in the Welsh language.  And, most of you probably also know that Corgis' short legs are the result of a form of dwarfism.

Dwarfism is caused by a genetic difference and most mammals, including human beings, can be born with this  difference.

Those of us who love Corgis delight in the difference that gives us our quirky little dogs. 

When a genetic difference like this appears in human beings, however, it is considered a "defect." We call the people who have this different genetic makeup "disabled" or "handicapped" and I think I can safely say that no mother upon being told her anxiously awaited baby has a genetic defect like dwarfism takes delight in this difference in her child.

A little more than two years ago, I stumbled upon a blog written by a photographer who was joyfully awaiting the birth of her second baby.  A second daughter to join the perfect first daughter.  It was fun seeing the plans being made for Nella and all of us who read the blog were looking forward to the announcement of her birth.  The announcement that came was not what anyone expected.  Nella was a very special baby, indeed.  Unknown to her parents until her birth, she had a difference, an extra chromosome -- the genetic "defect" that results in what we call Down Syndrome.  A disabled child.  A handicapped child.

You can read Nella's birth story here.  It is heartbreaking and lovely.  Have tissues handy.  But, more important than Nella's birth story is her life story told over the last two years by her mother's beautiful photography and lovely words. While it can't be said that Nella's family delights in her genetic difference, they certainly don't see it as a defect and they don't consider their daughter disabled or handicapped.  They'd like the rest of the world to see what they see when they look at Nella -- just another child who needs the help of the world around her to grow into the best person she can be.  

Nella's parents have a dream for her second birthday -- to raise $200,000 for Down Syndrome research by her second birthday.  They are still a little short of their dream with a couple of days to go. You can read about it here.  And, maybe be inspired to contribute a little something.

Some dogs have short legs, some have long.  Some people have 46 chromosomes and some have 47.  While it may be awhile before we human beings can delight in a difference like that extra chromosome, it is far past time when we should be able to look beyond it -- and the many, many other genetic differences that we humans have -- to delight not in the difference, but in the person with the difference.

2 comments:

scotsmad said...

Beautifully put!!!

XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

Boo's Mom said...

Thank you, Daisy and Co.