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D-Man (4 year old boy), Big-C (2 year old with Down Syndrome and hero of this story) and myself were attending our local town festival in the later afternoon on a hot summer day. The festival included a baseball tournament, a high school garage band performing under a small tent, beer being sold for a few tickets, and jump house turns being sold for a few tickets.
Family time at a town Festival
My boys and I listened to the band. Big-C cut a rug smiling and clapping along with the crowd. D-Man ran up and down an embankment. We took in a half inning of baseball, after D-Man insisted on sitting in the top row of the bleachers (it was only about 8 rows high). D-Man honored us with TWO stops at the port-o-potty because according to him “they are cool, it’s like peeing in a fort.” No beer was drunk by me and no jump houses used by my boys, oops momma forgot her money.
We ended up at the climber where our hero makes his appearance. This climber is within walking distance of our home, so my boys know it well and they have their favorite spots. For D-Man it’s the bar that he can hang from upside down by himself. For Big-C it’s the tube slide.
Big-C takes on the Teenagers
On this fateful night Big-C’s slide was surrounded by a battalion of teenagers armed with their smart phones and an air of superiority. Although there were other families with small children at the climber they seemed to allow these interlopers to inhabit what is traditionally small children space. The teenagers were in a semi-circle around the base of the tube slide; with one or two individuals straddling the slide and a collection of purses and other “important” items inside the slide. Now teenagers alone without their group are typically non-threatening, but in such a strong show of position even the young children were giving them a wide berth.
D-Man took one look and headed in the opposite direction to the taller slides and away from his favorite hanging upside down bar, or else he would have had to walk through the line up of teens.
Big-C walked right up and included himself in the semi-circle without hesitation. He proceeded to look up and smile around the group waiting for a reaction. After a bit of time, a couple of the teens greeted him warmly. Once greeted he stepped into the circle and pointed at his slide, yammering in his own language but communicating rather effectively. The teens just smiled and laughed a little, but did not move. He then took a step towards the teens’ items inside the slide, and was about to reach out for something. That’s when I casually mentioned (a few steps back from the group) that this was his favorite slide and he’s probably hoping that you all could move so he could use it.
Surprise the interlopers didn’t heed my warning
Big-C, not backing down continued to yammer, point, and almost got a hold of one of the purses, cleared the entire battalion from the playground area. He then was able to climb and slide to his hearts content. Soon after the intruders sulked away, other families migrated to this side of the climber to better enjoy the night.
This may have been a small thing to many, but to me this was a terrific lesson. Big-C taught me to stand up for what you believe in.
If you want to use that tube slide in life, don’t hesitate and don’t back down.