the children are in their seats, sitting quiet, watching us.
mazzy informed me earlier that she will be wearing a princess dress and she is. her glasses are perched on the bridge of her nose. she is about to tell her classmates about down syndrome.
at first i thought i’d be telling them, but instead she stands and i sit. i’m holding the signs that she reads out loud. the first one says this:
“my name is mazzy and i have down syndrome.”
she reads the next three signs.
“i love jesus.”
“i have a cat.”
“i am a princess.”
she reads them and as she reads they watch her read and they learn that she can read.
we’re watching the winter special olympics in traverse city.
sometimes the cued music can’t be found and when a skater falls down we wait and then she stands and everyone applauds for the getting back up.
i’m reminded of the final three signs that mazzy read that morning.
“i’m not perfect.”
everyone stopped when she read it. the teachers and the students look closely at her. they took it in, that she isn’t perfect. she can’t hide her imperfections like i can. everyone can see her shortcomings right away.
for a moment we look to her as the source of all of the imperfection in the world and we agree that she isn’t perfect. then she reads the next one:
“and neither are you.”
i watch eyes widen and the children laugh uncomfortable and real. mazzy stands there and tells a roomful of typical children and adults that they aren’t perfect and i want to rise to my feet and give a standing ovation.
but there’s something better, her last words clear as she says it:
“but jesus loves us.”
and that makes the difference. the laurel wreath on all of our brows, the gold medal around my neck and hers and yours.
his love regardless if we’re up front talking or in a chair listening. his love for every skater on the ice that day and in schools everywhere where little girls get to have a voice and tell the truth.
repost from the archives…