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  • Writer's pictureJodi Samuels

A Crooked Street

Updated: Mar 12, 2021

If you follow my bog you know that our family are adventurous travelers and use every school break to get away and usually to interesting and intrepid places. We are spending Pesach in San Francisco, Yosemite and Lake Tahoe. While Gavin travels so much for work and it makes our NY life stressful the upside is copious frequent flyer miles and hotel points making low-cost travel for a family of 5 possible. This Pesach is simply the cost of car hire. We get to see amazing places. My eyes of my children are opened to the world and mostly we have good, quality family time. For me this is also time to reflect.

On Wednesday we were in San Francisco and set out on foot to explore the city after shul. For anyone who has been to San Francisco, it is a very hilly place – and even more hilly on foot!. We decided to walk to the famous crooked Lombard Street and realized that we had come in on the wrong end. We had a huge hike up a steep hill followed by several hundred stairs. There was no way we could push Caily in the stroller. So she walked 15 min up the hill, and climbed all the stairs. And guess who took the most strain in the family?….Four-times-a-week-in-the-gym-no-matter-what-me! And our five-year old Caila literally skipped up the hill without even breaking a sweat.

It made me recall how we were told at the hospital when Caila was born and we were given the diagnosis of Down syndrome, that she would most likely not walk until 4 years, or when the speech therapist told us that most people with Down syndrome can only eat soft food. Caily can munch on steak, NY bagels and carrots – without blinking an eye. Our biggest challenge these days is getting Caily to stop talking – she is a non-stop jabberer – again opposite to the negative prognosis we were told to expect.

On Wednesday night I turned on my email and saw an article about North Dakota enacting a law banning Down syndrome selective abortion. The article below is a good blog on the situation

The debate rages between pro – life/choice groups. Emotional phrases like eugenics, reproductive rights and murder are bandied about. In the US 92% of women who have an amniocentesis that shows Down syndrome choose to abort. This group is somewhat skewed because many religious Catholics, Muslims, and Jews and pro- lifers do not do amniocentesis anyway. My choice not to have an amniocentesis was definitely influenced by my religious views and my conservative South African upbringing. I often wonder if I was part of another world, another society would I have made different choices? I look at Caily and she is amazing, she achieves so much and brings us so much joy.

The pride that I felt when Caila reached the top of Lombard street and the exhilaration that she felt to reach the top and smell the beautiful pink blossoms at the top makes me a little sad when I think of all the thousand of Down syndrome babies who could experience such joy and who could provide so much joy to their family who will never be born……………

Originally published: March 29, 2013


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