Friday, July 17, 2015

Joy Ride

This may look like the face of an innocent, but I assure you, it is not.

No, this is the face of someone who did his level best to talk me out of the electric cart I was using in Walmart.

"Owww, my foot hurt," he said, hobbling along beside my cart.

Whaaaat? His foot was not hurting.

"Ooooo, hurtin' me in my side," he wailed.

Nice try. Nothing wrong with his side either.

So he followed along behind me as I set out in pursuit of the Hardware Department to find a screwdriver.

But first, I'd have to find a way to get to get there. Not that I couldn't walk it, but I'm due a cortisone shot and what may seem like a short jaunt to you seems like a cross-country hike to my knees.

Somewhere during our Walmart excursion I asked Charley if he would like to go to the front and bring me one of those electric carts. "My knee is in bad shape," I said. "I don't know if I can walk all the way with this cane, and then back again."

Off he went. And where he went, who knows. Around the corner, down the aisle, around another corner, down who knows how many more aisles, while I stood in the main aisle desperately searching with my eyes. Where. Is. He?

He had to be somewhere, but where?

Finally, just as I was about to commit the ultimate embarrassment sin by having him paged, here he came. Big as day, happy as could be.

"Did you think I sent you to get that cart so you could take a joy ride?" I asked, tapping my foot as he approached.

"I having fun, Mom," he said, grinning that grin of his.

"Well get off, I need the cart." I'm sure my tone was curt.

"Be nice, Mom," he said.

So off we went, heading to the back of the store. 

That's when the limping began.

First he held his foot, then, his knee, then his hip. 

"Cut it out," I said. "You're not injured." 

"But I want dat cart. Please...I want it bad."

"I know, but you can't have it. It's for people who have trouble walking."

He sat down. Right in the middle of the aisle. "My foot bwoke."

"It is NOT broken. But I know something that will be, if you don't get up." I glared at him.

He grinned at me.

We resumed our trekk to look at screwdrivers.

And speaking of drivers, did I mention that someone had a screw loose? That would be me. That would be the moment I turned my back to you-know-who and resumed my journey to the hardware department with full confidence that he was right behind me.

Suddenly the hobbling ceased. So did the whining.

Did I mention that when I turned around, Charley was following right behind me? In his very own cart?

I nearly fell out of my seat. 

"Where did you get that?"

"I no know," he said. Like sure. That cart just appeared out of nowhere for your traveling pleasure. Keep your hands inside the ride...

"Well you had to get it from somewhere."

"I bowwote," he said as he pointed toward the paint supplies, and vroom, off he went.

I followed close behind, then made him follow me to make sure he wouldn't mow anyone down.

I couldn't help thinking about how it must be for Charley, seeing all the guys his age drive, knowing he can't. Wishing he could ride off into the sunset with his arm around some girl. I know that's what he envisions, because he tells me so all the time. I feel for the guy. I really do.

But not so much that I couldn't wait to get my hands on him. We had a little talk about those carts, and how taking someone else's cart probably left them in a lurch. I wasn't proud of that. So we went all over the store once more, looking for who-ever-it-was he'd "bowwote" it from. After all, they had it first. And worse, what if they were stranded? 

"When we find who that cart belongs to, you are going to apologize; you got that Mister?"

"Ok Mom. Sorry..."

Never did find the poor soul. Part of me hoped they'd gotten a ride to the check out, and part of me was afraid we'd come face to face and I'd have to admit that my son was the culprit.  That I qualified for Worst Mother of the Year. Shame overload. That this 25 year old opportunist with a beard had hopped on their cart and left them in his dusty trail. Worse, that I hadn't taught him better. Pastor's wives (spouses)...are you with me here? Our kids are supposed to be perfect, right? Eh...not so fast...

I tried, believe me, I did. But even with everything I've attempted to do right as a parent, and in the backdrop of how wrong this was on so many levels, all manners and consideration for others go out the window when faced with a go-cart and a store that has morphed into a race track. What I wanted to do was clobber him (after I stopped laughing - to myself of course). But since I'm a better shammer than clobberer, I would just have to wait and fuss in the car. (Which I did).

There was only one thing left to do. Get the heck out of the store. 
"Start your engines," I said. 

"Woohoo!" he squealed. If he'd had long hair it would have been flapping in the breeze. And off we went, heading toward the entrance where hopefully some other shopper would be able to salvage their knees.

I hate to admit this, and I know it's wrong, but it was the most fun I've ever had at WalMart. 

Me in my cart, hoping we wouldn't get caught. 
Him, on his joy ride.


***
Sherry Palmer is the author of "Life with Charley: A Memoir of Down syndrome Adoption." You can find it at: 

Life with Charley
Thanks for visiting! Please come back often...













Sunday, July 12, 2015

A Little Pumped Up



I’ve been trying to give Charley more responsibility lately.
After all, he is knocking on the door of 25 years.
I suppose I’ve kept him on a short leash. But then, if you read “Life with Charley,” you know why. 

You know all those times he’s run off, worried me sick, taken off on the neighbor’s three wheeler, and who knows what else? Yeah, those times.

Those are the times when I feel justified being a looney mom. I can’t help it. Keeping him safe is my job. So yes, he’s been pretty much in line of sight his whole life, that is, unless someone else is trusted with the job, say, like spending the afternoon at a friend’s house.

The good news, is that he’s growing up. That means he’s trusted with more responsibility.

Like running out to the car to get something we've forgotten without us watching his every move. Oh, he may forget momentarily that he’s supposed to return, but that’s only when a basketball is present and the neighborhood kids are shooting hoops. What’s a guy supposed to do? come back to the house immediately, or strut his stuff…show off his great moves to the neighbors? Most of the time he comes back.

Other indications that he’s getting older. 
  • Helping Dad clean the kitty litter box and cat feeders.
  • Getting the mail.
  • Cleaning out the car.
  • Helping to set the table.
  • Setting the garbage cans out for Waste Management and then bringing them back to the house at the end of the day. 

And…his all time favorite; helping Dad pump the gas.

DaddyBrad usually pays. Charley pumps.

Yesterday I picked him up at a friend’s house after a birthday party. I admit I was in a panic because I was low on gas and got lost on my way to her house.

Charley’s good with directions, so he was able to help navigate us back to the main highway, where, thank you God, there was a Shell station.

I pulled up to the pump, turned the car off, and started to open the door. 

Charley said, “I helpin’ you, Mom.”

I said, “Okay, but I’ll have to pay first.”

“Okay, Sherry Honey,” he said, flashing that grin at me.

That made me laugh. I guess he’s heard his Dad say that.
“You think you can do it, Man?” I asked.

“Me?”

Then I did something I’ve never done before. I handed him ten dollars.

“Here ya go, Bud. Give this to the lady behind the counter and tell her I’m on pump #3,” I said.

“Me?”

“Do you see any other Bud around here?”

At that he took the money and went into the store, waving the ten dollar bill in his hand. The lady behind the counter gave me a wave, and out he came, heading straight to the pump.

I watched as the gas gauge moved. But not much. Geez, I know times are tough, but you’d think $10.00 would go further than that. 

My thoughts were interrupted when he got in the car and handed me seven dollars.

“What’s that?” I said.

“You money.”

“You gave the ten dollars to the lady?”

“Yeah. I told her fwee.”

“As in, three dollars worth?”

“Yeah.”

But I meant pump #3…

Couldn’t help laughing, but not so he could see.

I considered whether we could get home on three dollars worth of gas. But then, there was something else to consider. This was his first independent visit into a gas station, paying the lady, pumping the gas.

No one to tell him how to do it.

No one to tell him he wasn’t doing it right.

No one treating him like he wasn’t 25.

“I got it awe?” he said, his face beaming with pride, his chest a little more pumped up.

“You sure did,” I said. “You did a great job.”

I looked at the $7.00 in my hand.

I looked at the gas gauge.

I sure didn’t get my $10 worth.

But what I got? Priceless.


***
Sherry Palmer is the author of "Life with Charley: A Memoir of Down syndrome Adoption." You can find it at: http://www.amazon.com/Life-Charley-Sherry-Palmer/dp/1937365700/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1436741962&sr=8-1&keywords=life+with+charley

Thanks for reading my blog! Please come back often...




Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Why I wrote "Life With Charley"


So pleased to be today's guest blogger on "Backing books."

Many, many thanks to Rebekah Guyger for inviting me to be today's guest blogger on "Backing Books," while she is in Jordan with her archaeological study group.

I hope you will take time to visit Rebekah's blog. Here is the link: http://backingbooks.blogspot.com/

Thanks for stopping by Life with Charley. Here is the guest blog: 


Someone recently asked me why I wrote Life with Charley. I opened my mouth to answer, and then had to stop myself. You know what? I didn’t know. Was it ego? The desire to be published? Maybe.

The fact is, I hadn't thought about it for so long, that even I didn't have the elevator speech for that. I've been writing Life with Charley for so long that even I can't remember the actual day I started.

I do know this, however. I didn't own a computer then. Everything I wrote was penned long-hand. Stories, dialog, details. It's all there, between the pages of my journals sitting on the bookshelf in my study at home. Every milestone, success, failure, shocking admission.

I never planned on a book. Then one day, Charley was sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor playing with his robots, while at the same time telling me he wanted to go on a date.

That was the day I knew Life with Charley had to become a book. Why? Because I know there are other parents who might need to know Charley. People who might need to know what a gift they’ve been given. People who might have more patience for their child if they could know my child.

So, I dusted off the journals and decided to share. The good, the not so good, and the in-between. Perhaps my stories could offer hope, joy, comfort. Perhaps they could reach into the heart of someone fearful of the diagnosis of Down syndrome, and let them know the journey they are about to take is one they were chosen for. Sometimes we choose our journeys. Sometimes they choose us.

That’s how Life with Charley was born. With the desire to allow people access to Charley. It hasn’t always been easy. In fact, as I say in my book, "Writing isn't easy. It means telling the truth when I want to lie.” Seriously, why would I want to tell complete strangers what an unmade bed our lives are?

For the price of a book, you get a front row seat to our shortcomings.

That said, I hope you also get a front row seat to our overcomings.

Join us, won’t you, on a journey into the mind of Charley. His silliness, his shenanigans, his dancing. The way he lights up the room when he walks in. The way he is 100% himself 100% of the time. His innocence. His logic. His sweetness. He is a story worth telling.

Thank you for the opportunity to tell you about “Life With Charley: A Memoir of Down Syndrome Adoption.”

You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Life-Charley-Sherry-Palmer/dp/1937365700/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432913828&sr=8-1&keywords=life+with+charley


Please follow Charley on Facebook at:  Life with Charley - And Down syndrome







Sunday, May 24, 2015

Hallelujah Hallow

 
On the porch...listening to his "hallow"
 
Charley stayed home from his Day program today. Our plan was to do some work around the house. But when it came time to dig in, well, a certain someone I know and love planted himself on the couch.
 
So I begged. Pleaded. Bribed. Moaned. Pleeeease, Charley. You promised you would help.
 
Think it did any good? Well, not exactly.
 
I folded clothes. He danced to High School Musical.
 
"Son," I said. "Turn off that radio. Stop that dancing. We've got chores to do. Get busy."
 
I scrubbed the sink. He played with the cat.
 
I cleaned out the closet. He went to the fridge and sprawled out on the couch to eat. And eat. And, EAT.
 
WELL, THIS JUST BURNED ME UP.
 
I did what I suspect most Mom's do. I threatened.
 
If you don't get off your rear, this will happen...
 
You're gonna to be sorry, because that will happen...
 
I'm gonna tell Dad...and anything can and will happen...
 
Finally, out of sheer frustration I sat down and cried. I don't know why, exactly. It just seemed like the right thing to do.
 
What did he do? He continued to eat. And luxuriate on the couch. And eat.

"Stop crying Mom."

Stop crying? Sounded good. But how? I just kept at him. Yap. Yap. Yap. As if he would get the message that he was being an inconsiderate jerk. My hissy fit was of no use to me. Even I could see that.
 
And then something happened. I shut up. I just sat there and cut him off from all conversation.
 
He doesn't like that. Let me rephrase that...he can't. stand. it.
 
He tried, believe me.
 
Mom, what doin?
 
Mom, I tired.
 
Mom, work is hard.
 
Still, no comment from me. Let me tell you what, Buster, I am NOT talking to YOU.

I admit it. I felt sorry for myself. Why should I have to do all the work? I've got an able-bodied 24 year old. He can do the grunt work. Lift the heavy stuff. Help a little.

Somewhere between my no-talking and his please-talk-to-me stand-off, he turned the dial on the radio to the middle of a sermon on repentance.
 
The preacher talked about taking responsibility for your life, and having the guts to apologize when you've been wrong. But not just saying you are sorry, he said you have to change your behavior or the repentance doesn't count. He said that we all sometimes make poor choices, and that if we want to really be happy in this life, we have to be responsible for our own happiness, and that includes how we treat others.
 
What happened next should have surprised me, but it didn't. Because I know Charley.
 
There, standing in front of me, was my son, holding out his hand, helping me up. He looked me in the eye and said, "Mommy, God said we-pen-dance. On da hallow (that's what Charley calls his radio). I listened."
 
I said, "God was on the radio?"
 
He said, "Yep. He said we-pen-dance."
 
"Repentance?"
 
"Yeah, Mom. We-pen-dance. I sorry, Mom. What do?"
 
And there went my frown, right out the window. And why not? I couldn't help smiling as he explained that the voice on the radio belonged to God. Hallelujah.
 
So there he was, apologizing. Repenting. Asking me what I wanted him to do. Changing his behavior. Doing the right thing.
 
Here was this young man with special needs, who some might think of as marginal, or simple, taking responsibility, asking for some assignment, telling me, "I work now. "

And with that, he went to the dryer and pulled the laundry out, and loaded the washer. Then he proceeded out to the end of the driveway and pulled the garbage can back up to the house (and put it where it is supposed to go). Next, he assisted as I cleaned off the Baker's cabinet. And this time, not one complaint.

"See?" he said. "I make you pappy."
 
And it did. It made me so happy I cried again.
 
Charley was not the least bit amused.
 
"Mom, you no cry," he said. "You listen, you we-pen-dance. God said." Then he headed to the porch with his "hallow" to do a little dance. Right out there where all the neighbors could see. Strutting his stuff.
 
And you know what? That made me laugh. Not that he was trying to be funny, but when your kid hears the word repentance and then dances a little jig on the porch, what's a Mom to do?

You do a little jig, that's what. You park your marching orders at the door. You lay your burdens down. You look into the face of your child who says he's listened to God, and you do a little we-pen-dance. And you listen to the wisdom of that extra chromosome called Down syndrome. 
 
And if you're not careful, you just might laugh a little more . You just might see the world in a different way. You might hear something worth dancing about on that Hallelujah Hollow.

 
********

Thank you for reading my blog! Please come back soon!
 
 
Sherry McCaulley Palmer is the author of Life With Charley: A Memoir of Down Syndrome Adoption, published by Zharmae Publishing Press, available on Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/Life-Charley-Sherry-Palmer/dp/1937365700/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432478401&sr=8-1&keywords=life+with+charley
 
You can read the first two chapters free, here: http://firstreadzfirst.com/2014/10/22/45/
 
Please visit Charley on his Facebook page at: Life with Charley - And Down Syndrome:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Life-with-Charley-and-Down-syndrome/514830105272710?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Heart Warriors

So pleased to announce that my guest blog is featured today In Blog Z...

In my book, Life with Charley, I have a chapter titled “Everyone’s Arena.” It’s all about the Special Olympics.

Now. You may think the focus is on the athletes. And it is, as it should be. It’s their time. But there’s something else. I want to talk about coaches. And peer tutors. And volunteers. And heart. And smiles. And those who make it possible for our athletes to shine.

It’s heart that leaves a family and boards the bus with around 60 athletes, 20 coaches, and 20 peer tutors (and that’s just the bus from our area) seeing to their every need, both physically and emotionally.

It’s heart that guides and directs the athletes from event to event, pushing wheelchairs, monitoring, seeing to it that medications are taken on time, making sure they get their snacks, stay hydrated, wear sunscreen.

It’s heart that stands on the sidelines, cheering, yelling, “You can do it!”

It’s heart that’s been on the go all day, yet finds the energy to be that dance partner for that athlete who otherwise might sit this one out.

It’s heart that sends my Charley home with a smile like no other.

You see, these aren’t just ordinary hearts. These are heart warriors. 
Warriors in charge of other hearts. Warriors that go out in search of smiles. Warriors that capture the very spirit of what it means to be a Special Olympian and the smiles that go with it.

Smiles like the one my son has when he arrives home.

Smiling is not unusual for him. It’s something that comes natural, like breathing. But this is a different smile.This is a smile that says, “I’ve got friends.”

Mike and Charley
Mike and Charley
“I belong.”
“I’m one of them.”
“I am somebody.”
Yeah. That smile.

It’s a smile of knowing acceptance. Of being a star. Of knowing you’ve made it to the finish line. Of standing shoulder to shoulder with your teammates. Posing for the picture.

It’s a smile that’s heard the thunder of applause, and knowing it’s meant for you.

Each time my Charley comes home from the Special Olympics, tired, happy, proud, I say a silent prayer of thanks. For the Special Olympics that puts that smile on my son’s face. For the hearts that give it freely. For those who do what few others would do, reaching into the hearts of those Special Olympians and pulling out those time of your life smiles.

Today my husband and I stood in the parking lot and watched as the bus drove away. The bus that would deliver the most important person in our lives to the one place that could help him find that smile.

So today I want to turn the spotlight on those who make it possible. 

Those who heart others.

Those who send our kids home with that smile.

I want these heart warriors to know that for those of us back home looking forward to that smile, rest assured. That smile belongs to them.
***
Sherry is holding a “Life with Charley Gratitude Giveaway.” To find out more about the contest, go to:
 goodreads.com/giveaway/show/138960-life-with-charley-a-memoir-of-down-syndrome-adoption
You can find out more about Sherry and Charley at:
lifewithcharley.blogspot.com/
Charley’s Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Life-with-Charley-and-Down-syndrome/514830105272710?ref=bookmarks
Twitter: @LifeWithCharley
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/Sherry-McCaulley-Palmer/e/B00OYYANFA/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
***
Sherry Palmer is the author of Life With Charley: A Memoir of Down Syndrome Adoption.
About the book:
Step into the world of special needs parenting and catch a heartwarming glimpse of unconditional love.
Charley is funny, ridiculous, ornery, and charismatic. He also has Down syndrome, and Sherry Palmer thanks her stars each and every night for the blessing that is Charley. Sherry knew that her life would change drastically when she and her husband decided to adopt a baby boy with Down syndrome, and she knew they would struggle at times with his developmental challenges, with other peoples’ perceptions, and with their own emotions. What she didn't know was just how amazing their world would become once Charley was in their lives—and in their hearts.
What the couple wants is to be parents. Little do they know that adopting a baby with Down syndrome breaks all the rules.
What the family wants is to talk them out of it. Thus begins a phone-calling campaign of do-gooders warning of the pitfalls. Surely this couple has no idea what they are doing. Surely they realize it’s a lifetime choice. What these well-intentioned people don’t know is that it’s the chance of a lifetime.
What the church wants is a typical pastor’s family (The handsome pastor. The thin, perfect pastor’s wife. The well-behaved, well-mannered preacher’s kid). What they get is the polar opposite, and what they find out is that sometimes even church life can have its challenges.

From the unlikeliest of sources comes a powerful message that the key to true happiness is in just being yourself.


Please visit! 



In the meantime, I'm excited to announce our Life With Charley Giveaway!

Announcing our "Life With Charley" Gratitude Giveaway!

Beginning today and ending May 30th you can enter to win one copy of "Life With Charley: A Memoir of Down Syndrome Adoption," signed by Charley and me.

This Gratitude Giveaway is in honor of the teachers, coaches, peer tutors, and volunteers who have given so much of themselves to make my son happy. 

In fact, at the time of this posting, they are on a bus on their way to the Special Olympics in Nashville. Rather than spending the weekend with their families, they are taking Charley and roughly 60 others to compete in the state games. Folks such as Gina Legg, Mike Sowards,  Camryn Cupp, Nate Berryman,  Skylar Gilliam, and Gabriel Boninoma. And that's just this trip! A host of others have taken their turns as well, such as Gerry Williams, and Yvette Dinger-Bennett, Miranda Williams, Jordan Childress, and Karri Byrd.

I'm naming those I know of who have worked with Charley's group. I know there are others. If I have missed your name it was not on purpose. There's no way I could name them all, and that's the point. There are many who have been so good to Charley and all of the Special Olympians on the state and local level. There's nothing Charley likes more, and Brad and I are incredibly grateful that he is included.

I'm so excited to have this chance to celebrate the Special Olympics with this Gratitude Giveaway. 

I know our athletes are special, but this giveaway is all about gratitude for those who make the Special Olympics possible for our loved ones. Those who, as I write about in my book, make the Special Olympics "Everyone's Arena." 

As the Special Olympics motto says, "Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." It is these service-oriented volunteers who create the arena where everyone is a winner.

On behalf of my Special Olympian: Thank you.

Here's the link to sign up for the giveaway on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/138960-life-with-charley-a-memoir-of-down-syndrome-adoption

I will be re-running this post over the next couple of weeks along with pictures of the Special Olympics. Please share so we can honor these volunteers properly. Thanks!




Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mr. Prom

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Stranger Danger

Have you ever known someone so sweet that they have no fear?

That’s Charley.

Everybody’s friend

And, as far as he’s concerned, everybody is his friend, too.

Here’s how things work at my house…

Charley is the neighborhood greeter. He stands out on the front step and waves to everyone. "Hey fwent!" 

Sometimes they wave back. Sometimes they ignore him properly.

He watches everyone.

“Look Mom, dat guy over dere.” Meaning, that guy is mowing lawn.
“Dat guy got da mail.” And so should he.

“Dat guy work da house.” Meaning, that guy has power tools. They make lots of noise. That makes him cool. Maybe he’d like to come to our house and tell us all about it.

And so it was.

I’m busy doing laundry, and sit down to take a break. I’m bending over, rummaging in my knitting bag for my latest project, and better hurry with it, or Mom’s birthday will be here before I’m finished.

“See? Dat my Mom,” he says.

I look up. There’s a man with long curly hair standing in the living room.

Oh Lord.

The man introduces himself as “Ron,” and squats down to pet the cat.

We chat for a moment, but inside I’m freaking out.

A man in the living room.

A man I’ve never seen before.

The man tells me he is working on the house across the street, building a play room for the new neighbors.

He seems nice enough, but he’s in my living room and I’ve never seen him before.

“See?” Charley says to me after the man leaves.

“Charley, you know better than to invite some stranger into the house like that.”

Or does he?

I remember telling him over and over not to open the door to strangers if they knock.

But did I ever tell him not to invite someone in?

How many times has he been in the living room and I’ve brought a friend home. Someone he didn’t know? True, I didn’t flag them in from off the street, but still, he didn’t know them. And what did I do? I introduced them. "Say hi, Charley."

Charley has a dilemma. He sees what I do. Then I tell him not to do it.

He’s 24. Should he be able to invite a friend in?

He has no concept of my-stranger-is-ok, but-yours-is-not.

As Charley gets older, I admit I let my guard down more than I used to.

I let him go outside by himself more. He empties the garbage. Most of the time he comes back. When he doesn’t, we go fetch him.

Sometimes he takes a detour, such as to the house across the street to invite “Ron” to the house.

It’s scary to see a stranger in your house.

Now, you must understand, I’m not afraid when Charley’s around. At least, I try not to be.

He’s strong and even though he is smaller than that guy, I have no doubt he could beat him up and leave him begging for mercy if provoked. All those years of carrying the TV from his room to the living room and back again every 15 minutes because he couldn't decide where he wanted to watch it didn't leave my son without muscles. 

Not that I want him inviting the neighborhood into the house, but if he decides they are all to come calling, then so be it.

The thing that gives me pause is this…Charley has no fear. No filter. No what-if?

What if that guy isn't a good guy?

What if Mom doesn't want to entertain right now?

What if I get in trouble for bringing ol’ Ron into the house unannounced? 

It's not a good situation, this open house, come-on-in. This Ya'll-com-back-now-ya-hear? No, it's downright dangerous. I've spent countless times explaining how he could get hurt. How I could get hurt. It's not that he doesn't care, it's that it doesn't register. 

I'll say, "Charley, inviting someone to the house that you don't know is dangerous."
He looks at me and grins, like, Dat guy? Can't you see how nice dat guy is? And he says, "Come on..."

It makes no sense to him. Such is the communication gap. The schism of reasoning that sets Charley apart from other thinkers. He wants to be regarded as a man, and most of the time he is. But it is times like these when the innocence of that 21st chromosome gets in the way. 

That being said, stranger danger and all, I have to admit that even though he sometimes scares me to death, I try to remind myself to look for the good. There has to be something good about this, and there is. He sets an example with his neighborliness. His unconditional acceptance of his fellow man.

 I admire him. 

I often wonder what it must be like to be Charley. To live your life as if everyone has your best interest at heart.

What if we all lived our lives like that?

What if we all treated strangers as if they were our new best friend? 

What if we brought them fried chicken on the first night in their new house? Brad did that the night they moved in.

What if we invited people in?

Most of us keep the world out.

We keep ourselves closed.

What if we were a little more neighborly? What if we approached the other guy like Charley does...why can't we be fwents?

What if we walked across the lawn and said, “Hi” ?

If we did that, the stranger in our house wouldn't be so strange after all.


And just to clear this up, no, I don’t particularly want a strange guy in my living room.

Charley and I will have a little chat about that.


Right after I walk across the lawn and meet the new neighbors.


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Sherry Palmer is the author of Life With Charley: A Memoir of Down Syndrome Adoption, available on Amazon.com

Friday, March 20, 2015

Life with Charley Book Launch for World Down Syndrome Day on Live at 5 at 4

Look at Charley on TV!

He is quite excited about the book, but equally excited that he was able to say hi to his friends on TV.

Great job, Charley Palmer! Click on the link below to view!

http://www.wbir.com/media/cinematic/video/25043477/life-with-charley-explores-down-syndrome/

 

You can find Life with Charley on Amazon, or ask your local bookseller if they can order it for you.
Thanks!

Monday, March 16, 2015

"Our World" Day


Life With Charley Giveaway...

Announcing our World Down Syndrome Day "Life With Charley" Giveaway. Hurry, contest ends March 21st. Here's the link: 



There’s a reason we celebrate World Down Syndrome Day, Trisomy 21 Day, or in our house, as we call it, “Our World Day”. (March 21, 2015).

How else could we raise awareness of God’s gift to humanity?

I say this without reservation. There are people in this world who have no idea how what a gift people with DS are. Worse, there are those individuals who would use the “R” word in reference to these people we love so much. 

We can only pity those people. First, for their cruelty, and second, because they have been deprived.

Pity they don’t know the fun that comes with DS. The uninhibited, unbridled dancing in the street. The silliness. The laughter. The funny little jokes they play on us.

Pity they don’t know the loyalty. 

The got-your-back-no-matter-what, warts and all.

The “Dis is my Mom,” and “Dis is my Dad” pride in their voice when they introduce us to strangers in the grocery store.

The I-love-you-anyway bottomless way they forgive us for our imperfections. 


The unconditional acceptance. The gentle kisses and the arms around our necks.

The simple, no nonsense dialog, and the continual efforts to make us understand when we can’t decipher what they have tried to articulate for the umpteenth time.

I’ve known people with Down syndrome all my life, even way before we adopted Charley. I believe I have earned the right to say that there has never been a more generous person than the one who lives in my house.

Charley is 24 years old now. For twenty-four years, Brad and I have been celebrating him. And yes, we have been celebrating his Down syndrome and everything that means to our lives.

If God gives me another 24 years of Trisomy 21, I will continue to count myself the most blessed person in the world.

Why? Because every day in our house is World Down Syndrome Day. Because Charley is “our world”. And that indeed,is something to celebrate.


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For information about World Down Syndrome Day, 2015, please visit https://www.worlddownsyndromeday.org/

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Sherry McCaulley Palmer is the author of, Life With Charley: A Memoir of Down Syndrome Adoption.