I've often heard other parents who have kids with Down syndrome say that friendships get harder as their child grows up; that the gap between their child and typical peers widens. I know that is not true for every child who has Down syndrome, and I know there are just as many stories from parents about their child with Down syndrome having many, many friends throughout school and beyond.
But right now, in this moment, I am seeing that gap with Kayla and her peers. I am seeing that friendships are just harder to maintain. I often say it is important for Kayla to be with her typical, same-age peers - to learn from each other and have those typical friendships and experiences - because she will be surrounded by that in the real world. I also frequently spread the message about being 'more alike than different.'
But a post on typical friendships is for another day. This post is to celebrate one friendship in particular.
As much as I believe all of the above to still be true for Kayla - the importance of having friendships with typical peers - I also think it is just as important for her to have friendships with people who are very much like her in their genetic make-up. While I believe she is 'more alike than different' I do recognize that there are definite differences.
Kayla does have a wonderful friendship with another girl who has Down syndrome. They run to each other with big smiles and arms open wide for a hug, calling out each others names whenever they see each other.
There is an ease and familiarity with each other. They seem to just get each other. Conversations are more easily understood, and flow at a rate that is more comfortable for them.
While they do have that extra chromosome in common, they also have their own personalities. Having Down syndrome has not made them the same as each other, but it has brought them together.
I have enjoyed watching their friendship flourish since we moved to SC and they met each other at the Summerville Miracle League.
Kayla is constantly asking if M can come over and asking me to 'text S, her mom, and ask if she can spend the night at my house.' At the beginning of the school year Kayla's adult support asked me who M was because Kayla was always drawing her in the family pictures, but he was pretty sure she didn't have a sister.
Their friendship is a beautiful thing and I'm glad they have each other.