Monday, April 11, 2011

Ladies Who Brunch

On Saturday I went to a brunch put on by the Albert Pujols foundation.  No kids, no spouses, just the moms.  The food was yummy - there was creme brulee (!), and crab cakes (!) -  there was an extravagant gift bag, Deidre Pujols herself was there, along with her super adorable daughter Bella...  and it was the most emotionally draining two hours I've had in a while.

I work full time so I never had the chance to join any playgroups.  We did a Buddy Walk one year, but missed the next - I don't remember why but I'm sure whatever it was seemed like a good reason.  Out local DS group has had a bunch of fun sounding fundraisers but other than kicking in $10 here and there on Reece's Rainbow we haven't been in the position to give much away the last couple years.  That, and since Matt went back to work, he's had weekend duty (soon to change!) so our social time is limited. 

Full of excuses, aren't I?  Why haven't we gotten more involved?  Money?  Time?  Denial?  Avoidance?  Laziness?  Mix of all of the above I'm afraid.  Though, yes, having an active social life with two kids, especially with one around 2 can be, um, challenging.  Timing a simple Saturday visit to the park around meals and naps can be a prize-worthy endeavor.  My first steps have really been here, online - even if I can count my non-family visitors here on one hand (ok 2 hands now - thanks!), my beat up laptop has provided those critical first connections, my first party invitations. 

Also, I might've mentioned I'm not really a people person.  Walking into that brunch on Saturday, even knowing no one else knew anyone either (except they did), even knowing what we had in common - ugh.  Social paralysis.  I generally think I'm a fabulous interesting person (ha!) - I function quite well at work, thank you, but walking into any social group of more than, say, three people sends the little reptilian part of my brainstem into flight or flight mode.  Or, maybe back into 7th grade mode.  Many of my first conversations have been me going, "mmmmpppphhhhhh".  That I have friends anyway is testament to their wisdom & patience (cutesy smiley face), not my social charms. 

[Say what you will about the internet & blogging, it's a comfy spot for us introverts]

So there was that part of it.  There were also videos - about our kids.  And their parents.  And their hopes and fears and their lives.  And prom night, because some of them "might not otherwise get to go".  At least I wasn't the only one crying.  Deidre Pujols told her story and still got choked up 13 years later.  Not exactly a breezy light hearted morning.  Inspiring, hopeful, embracing - but still, emotional.

What I thought was fascinating, though I don't have a fully formed opinion about it, was that the "Did you know" question was one of the first asked and longest discussed.  Everyone told their story (I told a super abbreviated version - high risk, 4th ultrasound, yes we knew.  I left off the part about Brennan).  I think only one other mom at my table knew in advance.  I can NOT think of a more loaded question - it's like meeting someone for the first time and within minutes asking what church they belong to, their position on abortion, and their views on disability.  Or, to put a much, much more inflammatory spin on it:  how they feel about euthanizing the disabled.  And if they don't come right out and tell you, you can certainly infer a lot from their answer.  Also implied, though I can only assume (hope?) not asked, is the immediate follow up question - had you known, what would you have done?

Since I don't fall into either camp - neither Surprised! nor devout Church-goer - I stayed on the sidelines of that conversation.  I guess I understand this is human nature - people reaching out, swapping stories, trying to find connections.  I will also freely admit that I might be a leeetttlllee bit more emotional this week (you think?), given its significance.  Maybe less introverted people don't stumble over sharing things like that.  Again, I don't really know how I feel about this - just making an observation. 

Also, to wrap up on a happier note - Albert & Deidre Pujols?  Good people.  Old fashioned, generous, kind, good people.  I'll save all the fervent baseball fan stuff for Matt (guess I'm giving up our location here, aren't I?), but how refreshing is it when people give that much of themselves, for the right reasons and not for the cameras?  In a fortuitous bit of timing, 60 Minutes did a spot on them last night - made me happy, so I'll share:  WATCH ME.   .....I'll share the link at least.  Can't figure out how to embed a video.
Edited the next morning (as usual):  It's also entirely possible I'm over thinking The Question.  Your thoughts?


  1. I'm glad you went. I'm not much of a joiner, myself. (Shocking!)

    Actually I think I have an easier time if there's some kind of focus other than just DS. Like, we're doing this class based on the Learning Program ( And I'm contemplating signing her up for a special-needs gymnastics class. I don't know, I just don't find "so...your kid has that chromosome too, huh?" enough to do small talk about.

  2. You? Over thinking? Naaaaawwwww. ;)

    Maybe you are, but the question seems odd and incredibly personal. Seems like a heavy way to further categorize, scrutinize, relate, and bin One's Experience. Did it diverge into two camps: the ethical people on this side and the ignorant unlucky basterds over here?

    Moot point. You're there, aren't you? Regardless of *how*, you love your daughter desperately and so do they.

  3. Ooo, I LOVE over thinking! I do it for a living! Seriously, this is how I characterize academia to students who are thinking about getting a PhD: would you, for fun, spend an hour analyzing a bumper sticker? If so, you might love being an academic.

    I have 47 things to say about this post. I will try to limit myself.

    1. The "did you know" question is incredibly tricky, although my experience of it, in a conversation with moms who have kids with Down syndrome, is that the stakes are sort of low. We all have kids with Down syndrome. The real high stakes would come if we were to ask one of our friends who doesn't have a kid with Down syndrome.

    2. I'm researching this very issue this summer! I will share more details soon, once I get IRB approval, but I would really really really love your feedback on what I'm researching and HOW I'm going about doing it. Love your feedback!

    3. I totally get the difficulty of leaving the house, even with just the one kid.

    4. I'm lucky to have extraverted friends who have kids with Down syndrome, and they've created a mom's group that actually has been a wonderful community, even though we mostly email and only meet about every four months.

    5. The blog community is great! I'm so happy to get to connect to you in this way, even though I don't know who you are (but I do know where you live...)

  4. Hi there... glad for your intro on my blog. :o) Not sure how I missed you out here in the blogosphere, but I thought I'd mention that you are not alone in the issue of "the question." I'll admit it doesn't strike me as that personal of a question, but I have a very good friend who still bristles every time someone asks her. She views it as very intimate as well. I'm an extrovert, pretty open and forthright with everything, though, so it takes alot to ask a question that makes me feel imposed upon. :o)
    Email to follow about the eyes, fyi.