Little boxes on the hillside,
little boxes made of ticky tacky,
little boxes on the hillside,
little boxes all the same…
And the people in the houses
went to the university
where they were put in boxes
and they came out all the same…
My life is filled with boxes. Boxes of toys and clothes and diapers and household products from Costco. Boxes of time in Microsoft Outlook, colour coded for each child with overlapping commitments. Boxes to check for another damn assessment.
The boxes keep us together. They bring order out of chaos. They are manageable. They are safe.
There are some boxes, not constructed with cardboard or computer code or even pencil strokes, which order our life as well. Boxes full of 8-year-olds who sit in their desk all day and listen to their teacher and keep their hands to themselves. Boxes of children who climb stairs one foot at a time and ride bikes and jump rope. Boxes of car keys and university applications and grandchildren.
It is everything we expect from life.
Then it happens. A child who simply won’t fit into our comfortable boxes. She is fun and interesting and determined and charming and challenging and not at all box-friendly.
So we try to construct new boxes for her. New expectations. We read books and go to workshops and join support groups. Special boxes, diagnostic boxes, supportive boxes, therapeutic boxes… all very good boxes.
It’s hard work tracking down, even building from scratch, so many different boxes. While the rest of the world takes their pre-fabricated, standard boxes for granted.
Then it happens again. And again. And again. She refuses to stay in the box. She is unpredictable and sweet and moody and unique and not at all box-friendly.
In a world full of boxes, she stands out.
And the world can’t help but take notice and smile.
Boxes are kind of boring after all.
So here’s me, celebrating all the Outside-the-Box beauty Down Syndrome brings to my life. This week is National Down Syndrome Awareness Week (Nov 1-7).