"Your baby is so cute!" two little Hispanic girls told me as Jude stuck her tongue out them."I like how she sticks out her tongue!" one girl laughed. Then "Are you from Mexico?"
Another little girl, white this time, jumped into next to us and said "I like your baby. Where are you from?"
I found myself bemused that these children did not notice that Jude had Ds but did notice that she looks brown and I'm white. And I found myself relaxing for the first time in a long while. Kids, who have a tendency to just blurt out whatever they happen to be thinking, didn't see anything worth asking about Jude (except her skin color and likely my skin color). I realized that maybe people did just see a cute baby. I didn't feel the need to out Jude. Instead, I just let the kids, and eventually the adults, admire her. She didn't need to represent anybody but Jude.
Over the last few weeks, I realized I had stopped blurting out that Jude had Ds to everyone I meet. It simply wasn't important for strangers to know. I was no longer worried about "looks" or "questioning gazes." If they were happening, they were irrelevant in the space of the busyness that is my life. I also think that as the days slip into weeks and into months that I no longer find Ds to be the center of our lives. It is there of course but it is not something I compulsively toy with or worry about. It is simply one piece of Jude just as are her brown hair and those shiny brown eyes.
My concerns about Ds have become bigger, more abstract in some ways. I still worry about equality. I am still heart broken over Ethan Saylor. Because even as the Ds fades into the background for our family, it does not for most of the people in our world. Ds is still a mark of difference. An insult. A blot that should be cleaned up or hidden. A thing of pity. I know that to have Ds is not to be any less human. I live with Ds everyday so it has become simply a part of the texture of my life. I wish that we could weave this thread into the world...so that those children in the pool might grow up to see that Jude is just a variation of human. Like we all are.