I am reminded of a Charlie story.
My friend Katie and I were shopping together at the CO-OP. Charlie was about 3 or 4 months old. I has holding him with his tummy facing me, and his little chin perched on my shoulder looking back.
We were in the produce section the first time we saw him. A scruffy old fellow. Grey hair, full beard, rough hands. My impression was that he was a fisherman, or perhaps a boat maker. Something marine. He was very weathered.
Now, Charlie has a gift. It is Down Syndrome, and it takes people by surprise. He is so charming, so cute, and yet, he has Down Syndrome?? It catches people off guard. Flies in the face of many stereotypes. I especially think this is true of babies with Down Syndrome.
The first time we saw the old scruffy fisherman, he paused what he was doing (thumping melons?) to admire Charlie. He waved to Charlie, and smiled.
The second time we saw him was in the bulk foods area. We were walking past each other in the isle, and he again paused to say 'hi' to Charlie, who smiled for him.
The third time we saw him, we were in front of the diary case. This time he didn't pause, didn't wave 'hi' (I mean, after crossing paths three times in the grocery, it feels a little awkward, doesn't it?). No. This time he just smiled as he walked past. As we parted ways this final time, I heard him mutter to himself in his rough voice:
"That's the cutest damn baby I've ever seen."
Hey, old fisherman fellow... I couldn't agree more.