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  • Writer's pictureJodi Samuels

Left Out

Caila has had a really difficult year. Teenager hormones, the increased social gap and the pace, complexity and volume academically combined, have all created the perfect storm for Caila. Our happy go lucky, high achieving teenager with Down syndrome realizes she is different and feels all the pain.

We had a meeting at the school. The counselor asked Caila what could make it easier for her next year and she said “If I had just 1 friend”.

These words say it all. My daughter is lonely. She will tell me the girls are nice to her but they are not her friends. I am then told by the professionals the challenge is that she does not have the ability to reciprocate friendship. So I guess I am left with a lonely daughter who understands friendship isn’t kindness. From my side I wonder if being polite to another human being, isn’t that really just the bare minimum of decency?

I find it quite ironic when someone needs a scholarship for a program it should be offered with no excuse. It’s not their fault that they are economically disadvantaged. With all types of diversity we are asked to respect people and treat them as equal. Yet we get told that it’s actually my daughter’s inability to be an equal and she gets a fake smile …

It’s harsh. I know! I was feeling all this when I heard a Rabbi and long time friend speak. His message was simple and effected me. I could not stop crying. My kids were all looking at me asking what’s wrong. He explained that a person cannot recite Shema (the central statement of Jewish belief) in the morning until the first light. The test is when you can see another person. The idea is that you cannot bring godliness into the world until you can see others.

I dream about the day that Caila is truly seen. When she is seen as a person worthy just because. No longer someone’s kindness project.

I dream many things for Caila. I dream that one day she will be not only invited to the party but asked to dance too!


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