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.
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."
"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
You can read the first two chapters free, here:
Please visit Charley on his Facebook page at: Life with Charley - And Down Syndrome:




  1. This was wonderful to read! I find that my kids listen more to others than to me. What a blessing that he heard the Lord speaking to him and that he listened, repented and obeyed!! God is good!

  2. The road to re-pen-dance is paved with gold. Great piece to read before heading to work.