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As stepmother to a daughter with Down Syndrome, I have been watching a new reality show titled “Born This Way”.  It is a little gem and I would encourage all of you out there to check it out.  It is a reality show that is heartwarming, poignant, uplifting and edifying.  No one is dating while naked; no one is x-raying their ass to prove they don’t have butt implants, and no one is trying to get a bachelor to marry them.  It is about real people with real struggles and after I watch it I always feel GOOD.

My Lauren is 29 years old.  I have been in her life for many years now and have been around lots of kids with Down Syndrome and other mental disabilities.  At first I felt a little nervous about how I should communicate or behave around these kids and I soon realized that I had nothing to fear.  They are more normal than NORMAL people.  I think their greatest characteristic is that they are innately kind.  Lauren can be a pain in the neck sometimes, but her heart is bigger than the Grand Canyon.

This is what I love about this new reality series.  It shows how really normal these kids are.  They have the same dreams/wants/desires and hopes of everyone else.  Some have disabilities that are more severe than others, but almost all of the kids on this reality show are very high functioning.  For instance, most of them can read really well which is something I’ve always wanted to teach Lauren because I think she’d LOVE escaping into a good book.  But she has little patience and gets frustrated easily.  Some are good with money, some are not.  Lauren is not.  As one of her friends once told me, Lauren can’t tell a dollar from a dime!  To which I couldn't stop laughing because it's true.

Lauren LOVES music and movies.  She knows the dialogue of almost every romantic comedy ever made, BY HEART and she knows the lyrics to literally thousands of songs.  A few years back I took Lauren to see Selena Gomez in concert.  Lauren stood and danced through the entire concert.  There was a couple sitting next us who had two little girls and the parents were getting annoyed at Lauren because their little girls couldn't see.  They asked me if I could ask Lauren to sit down.  Uh ... sure.  But what they wouldn't understand is that asking Lauren to sit down and watch instead of dance at a Selena Gomez concert is akin to trying to stop a racing locomotive.  She can’t help herself. And can I just say SELENA GOMEZ CONCERT TICKETS ARE EXPENSIVE!! 

As for dreams, Lauren wants to get married and have babies like her sisters.  She tells me all the time that she’d “make a great mom” and I always say, “yes you would, but first you have to find a nice boyfriend and THEN get married and THEN you can have a baby” ... I never tell her that her dreams are not possible

When Lauren first came into my life I was unprepared.  How do I deal with this little girl?  Having been single until I was nearly 40 I had no experience with kids and no patience as it was, and now I had a step-daughter with a disability.  Many times I sat in church and begged God not to let me burn in hell because I would get so frustrated with her and lose my cool.  I lived with a tremendous amount of guilt and shame and frustration ... always directed at myself for not have enough patience and understanding.  Thank God for girlfriends.  One who told me to stop beating myself up so much.  She assured me that I wasn't evil because she wanted to kill her own kids sometimes!  It just comes with being a parent.  Nevertheless, I struggled a lot.

It's now been 20+ years that Lauren and I have been best friends.  She LOVES me more than I deserve and has taught me so much.  She ALWAYS remembers my birthday, calls me twice a day ... just to check on me, and is great company.  We are simpatico ... we like the same things, music and movies and we are great pals and I LOVE HER SO MUCH.

Without sounding schmaltzy, Lauren and others like her are guileless.  Do not know how to be cruel.  Love without reservation.  Have empathy for ALL people and are real examples of how to live life.  In the moment, joyfully with love. 

Lauren ... isn't she the cutest!
So do yourselves a favor and check out this adorable reality show. You won't be sorry.   


  1. "They are more normal than NORMAL people."
    True words, those, because there is no pretense and no walls and no expectations.
    Those faces you showed are the faces of pure joy.
    We should be so lucky to feel that way even for a moment.


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