Her daughter's enthusiasm for science class reminds Nicole Johnson how, like a great teacher, God loves us and expects the best from us.
They have learned how to remove the S from a Skittle and the M from an M&M, and in what temperature water an Alka-Seltzer tablet will stop bubbling the fastest. I refer to them as the two little mad scientists: my daughter, her classmate and the two extra chromosomes between them that make handing over a glass of water and an Alka-Seltzer tablet an act of immense trust that things will go as planned.
I’d love nothing more than to be a fly on the wall of that classroom. To the casual observer, the mad scientists in the corner might not make much of an impression. To this mama, however, it’s a beautiful and somewhat astounding thing. My daughter follows directions, makes observations, and absorbs enough of the process that she can share the results with us over dinner.
I’ve never questioned my daughter's potential to do these things. The same understanding, however, is not always found in those unfamiliar with Down syndrome and the incredible individuals living with—not defined by—the diagnosis. I am profoundly grateful to her science teacher for believing these two young ladies deserve and have the potential to learn and thrive.
If you ask my daughter what her favorite part of the school day was, she answers science class—every time. Each day when she enters that classroom, she does so with genuine excitement for what is to come and trusts that whatever her teacher puts in front of her will be something she can tackle and feel good about when all the steps have been followed and observations have been made. My girl loves nothing more than to live up to a challenge and grab the opportunity to shine.
The season of Advent, this time of preparation and anticipation, is an opportunity for all of us to be reminded that someone believes in us and of us much is expected. It’s so easy to be swept up in the excitement of the commercialized season and forget what it is we are really celebrating.
The birth of Christ should bring renewed excitement for the gift of being unconditionally loved and the comfort of knowing that, whether we are asked to remove the S from a Skittle or the M from an M&M, every last one of us has been chosen—with great excitement and the utmost care—to live (and rock) this great experiment.
Copyright 2022 Nicole Johnson
About the Author
Nicole and her husband have been blessed with three children. Nicole markets the mission of a non-profit that provides early therapies for children diagnosed with developmental delays. She and her husband serve on the board for the New England chapter of Bethany Christian Services, a national adoption agency. Nicole's family advocates for life, adoption, and embracing children with special needs. Visit her blog at Joy in the Journey.