Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Capacity for Joy (31 for 21 Post 16)


 

 There is an idea that floats around that people with Down syndrome are always happy.  And there is a rebuttal that this is not true, they have a range of emotions like everyone else.  This is pointed out with adorable photos of pouty faces and funny tantrums (I don't have any of Reagan because I'm usually too busy laughing to think of getting my camera).  The former is an oversimplification and the latter misses the reasoning behind the perception of perpetual happiness.
 I honestly don't have a problem with people saying "they are happy all the time".  As a matter of fact I often find myself smiling at Reagan and telling her that she is always sooo happy.  And believe me, Reagan can whine with the best of them when her sisters are leaving her out, and she has to most adorable chest heaving, lip protruding pout you have ever seen.  But generally speaking she is a very happy person.
  See, I think the truth of the matter is that people with Down syndrome have a greater capacity to find joy than the rest of us.  I would (ok I do) envy that, but then I remember that Reagan's great capacity for joy actually rubs off on me...when she is so thrilled about life while I'm watching I see things through her eyes and find more joy in the simple things myself.
There is no denying that Reagan giggles at the slightest provocation.  That she cheers for everybody.  That she smiles and dances anytime she hears music.
  So is it any wonder that it is perceived as happiness all the time?  Reagan finds joy in everything.  I think that the extra chromosome tends to cancel out the filter of negativity that so many of us walk around with...therefore..."happy all the time".  So is Reagan truly happy all the time?
 No, of course not, she is a person.  However, Reagan lives in joy.  And the really great thing is that joy is contagious.  It is much harder to be in a bad mood with my sunshine around. :)

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