April 4, 2011

Bonds that will never be broken - Part 3

Wednesday and Thursday - continued

Wednesday – Bowling, White House Pizza

Alex loves to bowl, and on a good day can break 100. Wednesday was not a good day for Alex, Sarah or me. Sarah did improve in the second game however, and Tom and Jason both were able to hold their own.

Although Alex had the lowest score in each game she did not pout and cheered everyone on, this is new territory for her, a level of majority she has recently acquired. I know she learned from Sarah that day, as Sarah managed a few gutter balls in the first game, she joked, smiled and laughed, something Alex has NEVER been able to do with a gutter ball.

Sarah and I spent a lot of time together during these days. As the week progressed Alex spent more and more time in her room. Sarah joined her on occasion and would listen to her belt it out on the karaoke, but Sarah sensed Alex wanted be alone and would hang out with me in front the TV.

I am not a TV addict by any means, except when there is a tennis tournament. Lucky Sarah, it just happened to be the Sony Ericsson tournament in Miami, so her choice was loud out of tune singing in Alex’s room, or loud out of tune tennis grunts downstairs. She chose the grunts and I was able to experience what a great young woman Sarah is becoming. I enjoyed our time together.

“All the Pretty Horses” is the name of the Band Alex sang with at the WindWalkers fundraising event in January. They are a local band and play often around town. On this evening they happened to be playing at one of our favorite restaurants, White House Pizza.

Not only could Alex introduce Sarah to Olivia and her band mates, it would involve eating at one of her favorite spots. Due to Alex’s diet and our budget we have not dined out in a long time. It was a nice evening, a good way to spend our last night with Sarah.

Thursday – Sarah leaves :(

We reluctantly arrived at the airport a few minutes early so I offered to get Sarah a snack for the 2 hour plane ride. Forgetting that I had shared with Sarah my favorite food groups, potato chips and chocolate I asked her what she would like. The hairy eyeball said it all….chocolate of course.

Alex and I went off to the shop to get Sarah a snack. As usual Alex begged for candy and juice. As usual I said no, it is one of those routines we go through every time we go to a store with food. Alex knows she is on a diet and hasn’t really pushed these buttons too hard recently. However this caused an unusual breakdown, Alex stormed out of the store, and ran crying to Sarah saying she hated her mother. This is very regressive behavior for Alex, and instead of trying to understand it, I got impatient and told her to stop acting this way.

Sarah was able to calm Alex and in a few moments Alex apologized and hugged me. Her hug was hot and her forehead burning. I had forgotten one of the magical things about Alex; she has a deep mind body connection. She wears her heart on her sleeve and can make herself ill when she is emotionally distraught. I realized Alex was upset Sarah was leaving. For six days she had what every teenage girl should have, a best friend, and I silently cried with her.

I know the bond Alex and Sarah have is very special. To Alex, Sarah is the friend who never judges, accepts Alex for who she is and what she can do. Sarah does not see down syndrome, she sees Alex, a sweet, creative and loyal person. To Sarah, Alex is perfect, and although she reacts differently to situations and can be immature she has gifts and Sarah appreciates these gifts.

It was a bittersweet week for me. Sarah is growing up and her relationship with Alex will never be the same. Yet, I know those bonds formed 14 years, nine months and six days ago will last forever. I believe these two young women have made a lasting impression on each other and are both the better because of it. I look forward to their futures, together and apart.

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