An Angel In The Waiting Room

Tess* burst into the room and immediately her boundless energy & optimism transformed it. We were a waiting room full of people keeping to ourselves, involved in our own crises or boredom. And then she walked in boldly climbing in and out of each empty chair—you know the one empty chair we make sure to leave between us and the other guy?

The black haired 4-year old bounced into the room, master of all she surveyed–unafraid, boisterous and friendly. She even dared to touch an old man’s hand and stroke his arm declaring, “Soft.” Everyone smiled at her and said hello—almost hoping she would pick the chair next to them. What an honor it would be to have Tess sit next to you, look at you through big dark eyes and say, “Hi”—and then of course move on to her next new friend. Her presence was illuminating. Her father watched the whole time proud, tired and perhaps blessed at the gifts his little girl was planting around the room. What a beautiful little girl and what a beautiful moment.

You could sense a myriad of emotions in his eyes. Pride, love—most certainly love–relief and maybe a twinge as he perhaps remembered the moment he discovered his daughter would live her life with Down’s Syndrome. The fear of the unknown, self-doubt that he could take care of her, embarrassed to admit that she would always take more work and energy than the “normal” children. And then today—reward. Payoff. Watching his transcendent little girl blast through the boundaries we normal people had established in our 5-10 minute incarceration in the waiting room.

Tess’s name was called and off she went leaving our room a little more bland and a lot less bright. So we all went back to our magazines or television and closed our doors again. But, for a brief moment in our day, we got to see and be a part of true unapologetic joy.

*name changed to protect privacy

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