Tuesday 24 October 2017

'One of the privileges of seeing into this world of tragedy is that you also see a world of incredible love ... the most unselfish, giving love you have ever witnessed'

Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

You wonder sometimes. Do any of us really know our own story? Or are we too close to see it?

I was in Italy recently. And as they do in Italy, the Nonnas fussed over the kids and pinched their cheeks and it was all bella this and bella that. And sometimes you would notice with the younger one, who has Downs, that they would give her an extra little look, a sort of loving sympathy, just a slight look, imbued with that sense of warm tragedy that Italians understand so well, a sort of low-key opera. And maybe a smile of sympathy and understanding to Mama or to both of us.

I noticed as well that sometimes people would do little extra kindnesses for us. They would maybe give the girls a lollipop or a little toy, or help us out in some way. Often, with that innate understanding of these things that older Italian people have, they might give a little treat to the older child, who does not have Downs. As if they knew that she was maybe the one who needed the treat, as if she was the one who needed to be fussed over. As if they understood, without it being said, that the younger got enough fuss.

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