Tuesday, October 5, 2010

31 for 21: Happiness is a Journey

October is Down Syndrome Awareness month. In the blogging world, that means many bloggers commit to blog everyday during the month to help raise awareness. It's called the 31 for 21 challenge (31 days for Trisomy 21 which is the medical name for Down syndrome). I've done this challenge in the past, and was looking forward to it this year. Although, just today I am realizing that October has already begun. So, I'm a little late, but looking forward to making this a blogging month (if nothing else, I'm sure my mom will love having something to read everyday)!

Grab This Button

I have recently found a speech therapy group that is just what I have been hoping to find. The only draw back is that it is down in the city. Which means I have two options of getting there.

Option A is a 15 minute walk, followed by a 30 minute ride on the metro, ending with another 15 minute walk. Doesn't sound too bad, right? Add to that the fact that I have two kids with me, both of which hate riding in the stroller, and a train similar to a can of sardines - so full of people trying to get to work in the morning that one can barely move, yet alone try to entertain toddlers.

Option B is a relaxing drive in traffic. Which would definitely win out over option A if it were for the fact that I would have to pay $13 congestion fee just to drive in the city, plus gas, plus parking fees which could easily run at least $15-$20, and that is only if I am able to find a parking space.

There must be a better way, right? Well, sort of. It is the coveted blue badge given to people with disabilities that waives the congestion fee to enter the city and grants free parking almost anywhere you want to park (including in no parking or restricted areas). Sounds to good to be true, don't you think?

Well, I've finally been convinced that we need to apply for one - if only for the sole reason of making Antalya's speech therapy a possibility. On the application it asks how far the applicant is able to walk and how long it takes to walk that distance. After thinking it over for a day, I estimated that Antalya could walk 500 meters and do it in 10 minutes. I was a bit surprised when Jason laughed at my answers and told me I was overly exaggerating.

So today on our walk home from school I decided to get a more accurate idea of the distance Antalya would walk. It was a walk just like all the rest, except this time I was looking at my watch and clocking the distance. I was a bit surprised at the results.

With all my typical coaxing, bribing, and pleading, Antalya walked 350 meters (.2 miles) in 20 minutes. That of course is not taking into account all the distance we covered back tracking and veering off course which would at least have doubled the distance, and all the dancing breaks that had to be taken once it was discovered that she could see her reflection in the sides of the cars we passed.

Although the time it takes to get anywhere with her frustrates me sometimes, I must add that it truly inspires me also. Antalya cannot be rushed because she lives completely in the moment. In fact she soaks up every moment of every day and feels more happiness in one individual moment than most people feel their entire day. She doesn't live for the future - it means absolutely nothing to her what is coming tomorrow, or next week, or next year - only that the moment she is in is a happy one. And so although everyone else may pass us by, it's alright, because it's just one of the many lessons Antalya is teaching me.

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
Dance as though no one is watching you.
Love as though you have never been hurt before.
Sing as though no one can hear you.
Live as though heaven is on earth.
-- Father Alfred D'Souza

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Sunny - this last paragraph and thought brought tears to my eyes. I've read that saying a million times before, but with your thoughts before it about Antalya - it had a whole new meaning and a completely different understanding. It's beautiful! And, no one lives it more fully than Antalya! She teaches us all.
Love you!