“What’s Santa going to bring you this year?”

My son turned sharply to the acquaintance who asked the question. Then he firmly said, “There’s no Santa.”

“Yes, there is. You have to believe,” the person tried to persuade my son with no success.

Believing is important, but not in the Santa scenario as my son so accurately saw. As I observed the interaction, I thought back to my early life as a parent. For a time, I believed something totally wrong.

In my early days as a mother, I believed a big lie. The lie whispered in my ear when my daughter’s doctors informed me that she had Down syndrome and a heart defect when she was born. The lie screamed at me when I watched my child struggle, deal with in-home therapies, take medications, and use home medical equipment. The lie seemed verified when someone stared at my child, made a crack using the r-word, or joked about something being “special.”

The lie seemed right as it told me: My life is so different as my daughter’s parent; it won’t be good.

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