It was last night. It was perfection. I wish I had better words. Words that smiled when I wrote them.
It was happiness to me. And hope. And delicious, delicious steak. The best I’ve ever had.
We were invited to go to the gala by a lady who just happened to be at the park across the street from us one night when I was there with my kids. She works for Johnson and Johnson and they had bought a table for the event and invited us to be their guests. I didn’t know exactly what the event was until I got home and googled it. It was kind of a big deal.
It’s a gala put on by the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. We sat at Beverly Johnson’s table with her niece who was a model in the event. You can see them on the news before the gala here. My hero, DeOndra Dixon (Jamie Foxx’s little sister) was there as well. If you have a minute, watch this (it talks about the foundation as well as DeOndra) :
Jamie Foxx wasn’t there last night, but we got to meet someone I think is every bit as remarkable. At our table was Anthony Armstrong. He plays wide receiver (I think?) for the Washington Redskins. He was probably one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met. His little sister has Down syndrome and he came to be an escort for the models in the runway show. He was funny, nice and acted like HE was lucky to meet all of us. At the end of the night when he was leaving, he said goodbye and had remembered all of our names. He was super cute up on the runway with the little girl with Ds that he was with. Just a remarkable kid.
|He really isn’t short, with the heels I had on, I was 6 feet tall|
The lady who had invited us is friends with Congressman Sessions, who was being honored that night. When she told them that there were parents there who would like to meet him, he dropped everything he was doing and came right to us. He gave us his personal email and wanted to get pictures with us. Again, he made US feel like we were the ones being honored. Congressman Sessions has a seventeen year old son with Down syndrome. His son is an Eagle Scout and was the ambassador for that night. Congressman Sessions grabbed me and Annette (my fantastic neighbor from down the street who has a four-year-old with Down syndrome) and took us to meet his wife, Nita. She’s amazing. It was so wonderful to tell her and others that I have a baby with Down syndrome and not get that horrible look of pity that happens a lot out in the “real world.” I was congratulated over and over again and Mrs. Sessions said, “Oh, I wish I could do it again!” She actually wasn’t even the first parent of an adult child with Down syndrome that said that to me that night.
The best part of the night for me was the applause for Mrs. Sessions. It came during Congressman Sessions speech. He said that the real hero in all of it was her. The applause thundered through the room. For the mother. Not the congressmen, the celebrities, the dignitaries. For the mother.
|Lance, me, Annette and Haik|
Thank you Johnson and Johnson for this amazing opportunity! Johnson and Johnson really is a fantastic company both in the products that they make, the research that they do and the charities they support.
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation does great things. It’s only a few years old and is making a huge difference in the lives of people with Down syndrome. Congressman Sessions and Senator Harkin who were honored last night are also changing the lives of MY children. Senator Harkin was instrumental in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Because of the ADA, my children are entitled to fair treatment in school, work, and regular life.
I’m so grateful for people who are using their positions of leadership, their celebrity and their life experience to change the world for the better. I kept thinking over and over last night how lucky I am to have a daughter with Down syndrome. What a wonderful world it is.
John C. McGinley was honored at the Denver event. You know how much I love him. Check out this video of him:
The night was topped off by a performance by Gladys Knight. She smiled at me and I wanted to kiss her on the face.