Well, it looks like I'm getting what I hoped for. More and more people are approaching me and being clear that they know Nate has DS. Today at church, I had 2 people approach me. The first told me she is a cytogeneticist. She wanted to make sure I knew she'd be happy to talk with me if I had any questions. The second was a woman who has a 20 year old brother with DS. She approached very gently (it's clear she understands the mixed emotions I have). She introduced herself and her husband and asked my name. She then commented on how she had been watching me with Nate during the service and thought he was so cute. This is the point when I usually get a little uncomfortable since I know he is not the conventional "cute" and that it is sometimes the word people use because they don't know what else to use. But this time was different. Since she had approached me so intentionally, I knew there must be something more. I paused for a moment and she jumped in to share about her brother. I could see in her eyes that she adores him and really wanted me to know how much he means to her. She had seen us in church a couple of weeks ago and told her mom about us, so her mom has also extended an invitation to talk.
I so appreciate these exchanges. But, I've found, I'm still not all that ready to talk with those who have experience with older children or adult with DS. I can handle infants and toddlers - I don't have set expectations for those little ones under 3 or 4. But once they get into school and beyond, that is where I feel challenged. There is just such a wide range of ability.
So, for right now, I'm just going to continue enjoying my sweet little 5 month old. He is honestly the sweetest little guy (well, except for those few hours in the afternoon when he just won't sleep). I'm working hard to not have specific expectations for him, but to allow him to develop in his time with our help.
And when I'm ready, I will be thankful for all of the people who have stepped forward to share their thoughts, advice and experiences.