Life lessons from a three year old

Monday morning we walked into the pediatrician’s waiting room. All I could think of was a post written by a lovely blogging friend about the craziness in waiting rooms. I was prepared for snotty children, for coughs and flu masks, for grandmothers wanting to pinch Paige’s cheeks. I was not prepared for what happened.

After we settled and Fynn ran over to the gigantic germ table bead maze table a mother with two blonde haired toddlers parked her double stroller next to us and let her kids free. Her daughter looked about Paige’s age, but I could place an age with her son who quite obviously had Down Syndrome. I guessed somewhere around Fynn’s age, but wasn’t quite sure.

I watched as the mother held her breath as her babes started mingling with Fynn and a few other bigger children. The bigger kids looked at her son a little funny and gave him extra room, some moved away completely. They knew there was something different about him, and they weren’t sure how to react. How to talk to him. How to play with him.

My son, my wonderfully caring son went right up to the little boy and started playing next to him. They played with the beads together, laughing and coming up with their own games. Together. In minutes they were chasing each other around the waiting room on hands and knees, engaging each other in the common ground that three year old boys have. Because it turns out that these two boys  were born just weeks apart.

As the boys played I asked his mother how old her children were. She went on to explain how her son had just turned three, and her daughter was 16 months {sounded vaguely familiar!} At this point she sighed a breath of relief and her eyes softened. They were no longer as cautious and protective as at first. We talked about the kids names, how her daughters was a name that I would have loved to have given, but it was vetoed. We talked about having our hands full being mothers of two little ones so close in age. We talked about how her son will be starting school in a few days, and how nervous she was. How three is such a huge age. Potty training, independence, strong wills. We talked like there was no elephant in the room. Because there wasn’t. By that point it was just two mothers, and four children.

My son saw the little boy for who he was, not just a child with a chromosomal disorder who looked different. My son taught me {a woman who worries so much about offending that often will just look the other way…} that we are all alike. That we all like to get down on our hands and knees, enjoy friendship, and find common ground. We all have common ground, no matter our how different we might look or act. Our hearts are all made up of love. Our hands ready to give and receive friendship.

My son, it turns out, might be the wisest soul I know.


Please visit Emily at Chatting at the Sky for more Tuesday’s Unwrapped. You’ll find simple moments and simple mysteries unwrapped in everyday life. Enjoy!


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22 responses to “Life lessons from a three year old

  1. I am so proud of your son. And of you, because you are raising a child with a big heart and an open mind.

    Print this post out and put it in his baby book–it’s a keeper.

  2. That’s good. The little ones know so many truths that we forget as we age. God bless you and yours.

  3. i got a little teary over this… i am not a mama to a boy with down’s, but i feel like i could be his 2nd mama. and i know how that mother felt sitting in the waiting room… hoping against hope that someone would her son for who he is. and i’ll just bet she talked about you all night to her husband… and that you put more hope in her heart than you know. many years ago i was surely one who would have looked the other way… but now i find myself reaching out. if you have time, peek at this little link of mine… a celebration of a boy you wold fall in love with. in 2 seconds flat. or less 🙂 he has taught me more than i ever thought i needed to know.

  4. Your son sounds like a great kid. So does that other boy. I hope they both remember….

  5. And pat yourself on the back, too, for raising such a caring, loving, open child. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as my dad would say!

  6. What a lovely story. And I’m with Kitch, print this out so you’ll always remember it.

    My younger brother has special needs and I remember the feeling of bracing myself on his behalf, always waiting for an awkward interaction. And the amazing thing was that there weren’t that many of them when he was little because, as you point out, kids can be wiser and more accepting than we older folks.

  7. Oh how I love this. Miles and Asher are this way, they just don’t flinch over differences. They are my best teachers, too. Lovely post!

  8. This is beautiful. And what a wonderful reminder, as you say, of the wisdom of our children. They are little sages and for me the challenge is remaining open to their insight.

  9. Casey's Mommy ♥

    Proud mommy moment – love it 🙂

  10. Sometimes I wish our hearts would stay as beautiful as they are when we are children. 🙂

  11. You and Fynn gave that other mother a precious gift, and an ecounter I’m sure won’t easily be forgotten. You must be so proud of Fynn, of his loving, accepting nature. And you should be proud of yourself, for raising him to be accepting of other because of who they are inside, rather than outward appearances. This was a beautiful story, and I’m with everyone else — you should print this out to save for Fynn.

  12. Yes!! I’m so proud of Fynn for you. Can you imagine how one little three year old — your little three year old — just touched that family’s life? Probably beyond what we would ever know.
    Sometimes I feel like I live in a parellel universe to you … I was just sitting down to type a blog post (both boys are SLEEPING!!) about how much Gabe touched mine and hubby’s heart and reminded us about how to live last night while we were reading in his Bible the story about the Good Samaritan. I love these little boys — for what they are to us as mommies and daddies and siblings, but also for what these little ones are going to be to the world. Amazing. Sorry for the novel.

  13. If only more people could see through those three year old eyes…..

  14. As a high school teacher, let me just say that, from this story, you have given me a little hope about our future. Many of my students aren’t very caring or loving or non-judgemental…. so if your little guy acted that way, well… maybe my next generation of students might be better than I expect. I know it’s got something to do with his heart and who he is, but it also has a lot to do with the example you’ve set and how you love him. Thanks for making my future a little brighter.

  15. Corinne, this was so beautiful. These are those times we get to rest in all our trying moments.
    You are a good in your own right, for not just watching the play, but talking to the Mother. Thank you for sharing this.

  16. Blythe

    Way to go, Fynn!

  17. ann

    I love how our children nudge down these barriers with their innocence–especially when they’re little.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Yours is great.


  18. you should be proud of your son, and that he led you into such a meaningful realization. This was beautiful!

  19. What a blessing you and your son were to that family! You saw them with God’s eyes…how awesome!

  20. If only we could all keep that pureness and innocence of a three year old. At what point do we lose that and become judgemental and fearful? If you ever needed proof that you are doing it right as a mommy, this would be one of those moments. Fynn is one sweet little boy!

  21. You’re raising him up right, girl!


  22. Pingback: ~2009~ « Trains, Tutus and Twizzlers

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