His name

Ellie and I were on our way out for a cake date. As I started my car, I looked up and there he was. I had to run back in the house and grab my camera to capture it so you all could experience him the way I get to…

And because it might seem a little stalker-ish to be hiding behind a tree and taking pictures of your neighbor and then posting them to a public blog without permission, I went over an introduced myself to him.

I met his dad and explained about the blog and how I loved to watch his son (who, I found out, is actually 32) play out in the common area and told him I was not really a creepy stalker who photographed strangers. He was as kind and supportive as any dad could be, and as he and his son goofed around and teased each other I just laughed because he was everything I had pictured him to be. Sweet, kind, and the kind of guy who you would root for at a baseball game :)

I am overjoyed to be able to introduce you all to my new friend Norris.

I received a very sweet email from Norris’ sister telling me that I had summed up his outlook on life with my post. I can’t tell you what that meant to me. This is a guy who has brought a lot of joy, not just to his family, but to a lot of others as well. I hope you’ll join his fan club, and I’ll keep you posted as the days go on….

To the “A” family…thank you for letting me share your Norris with all my online friends. He is an inspiration and a blessing to all of us.

Angie


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  • http://3dlessons4life.wordpress.com/ Lyli

    God bless you, Norris and family. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TZGWH32KEPAFCI3SHL5FJLVD44 lighthouse

    Norris is a blessing, as are you Angie! 

    Consider me part of his official fan club!

  • Amy and Dylan

    I have a son with Down syndrome, and although I would love for people to love my son as a human being and not some spectacle, I just want you to be positive your intent here is clear. Maybe you don’t know a whole lot about people with Ds….but they aren’t much different from your own children. They own an extra 21st chromosome. It changes their appearance a little, it affects their intelligence a little, it sometimes affects their eyesight or speech a little, and it sometimes, heartbreakingly, makes them prone to cancer or alzheimer’s disease. But for the most part, they are the same as everyone else. I think I can see your heart is in the right place here… I appreciate the message I -think- I’m reading of tolerance and acceptance. You just have to understand that, although we know what ANGELS we hold here on earth, we really don’t like gawkers or looks of sympathy for our kids. So there’s a fine line between admiring and making a spectacle. Please tread carefully Angie…and treat handsome Norris like you would anyone else. I know he has magic in ‘em, but don’t find yourself gawking. :) Thanks, Amy and Dylan (Ds)

    • http://www.audreycaroline.blogspot.com angelac519

      amy- definitely an important distinction and one i wanted to take the time to address. i will first say that i did my post-graduate work with down syndrome children, and have actually prayed that God would bless me with a baby who had down syndrome because of the way i came to love the sweet kids i worked with. 

      outside of my experiences and love for what i consider the “infectious joy” of ds children, to be totally honest that wasn’t really why i wrote about this particular boy. i loved watching him before i knew anything about him, and adored his zest for life. i wasn’t writing about a boy who had a different chromosome pattern, but rather someone i had admired from afar because of his passion. i found out later that he did have ds, but that wasn’t really the point of the post (or the follow up). i didn’t want to make it about his genetics, but his heart. i will say i am hurt that you would say something like “tread carefully, angie” and use the word “gawking,” both which insinuate a motive that couldn’t be farther from my intentions. it struck me as something that could have been worded more kindly, and possibly sent directly to me instead of here. i can certainly understand your sensitivity as a mother, but im also sad that it seems you missed the heart of what i was trying to share. for the record, im neither a gawker or a spectacle-maker. im a child psychologist who has spent years working with and loving kids just like your sweet son. i wasn’t blessed enough to have the opportunity to parent a down syndrome child, but i have a special place in my heart for them, and it hurts that it came across as anything else.this is one of the perils of writing a blog…put youself and your heart out and just wait to see if people get it or not…oh well….at least the Lord knows the way this particular comment stung and all the reasons why. i will rest in that tonight.angie

      • Tagging

        Sometimes reader here, Amy interpreted the post as I did. I can see why she would be offended. Norris is 32, according to you. So by definition he’s not a boy, he’s a man. I don’t think Amy intended to be rude to you, I think she just wanted to point out that your post seemed a little weird and offensive.

      • Amy and Dylan

        I think the Lord knows why He lead me here to see this post as well. You see, what I wrote was out of love and concern. My sweet little boy has brought out the mother bear in me when it comes to our babies. My first instinct is to protect them when I feel like they need to be protected, or even when I perceive them to need protecting. Maybe I didn’t interpret your intent like you intended me to…I’m sure it’s tough when people don’t get it like you mean it.

        You have to understand that I’m not a regular reader here. I used to be, but life got pretty hectic after the birth of my second son (that’s Dylan!) and blogs pretty much went to the wayside. But I did read your book right after it came out, cried and cried, told my mom, who also bought your book…then I sent my copy to a friend who has a friend whose baby was unexpectedly stillborn…etc. So I guess I was a “fan,” if that’s what you call it.

        But now, I feel like I was lead back to see your response. You see, we readers get to know you bloggers because we read what you share of your lives….but it never dawns on us that we are simply that…readers. Not meant to differ with you, not really meant to converse with you…just meant to click and read. And, where I never thought you would have taken my comment to be so offensive, *I* took *your* response as defensive and mean. I am not a “naysayer” or a hater…sooo not my style. But I’m sure you understand why I won’t be back to your blog, and I won’t recommend your book or blog to anyone else. And also? You didn’t appreciate my comment being on your blog and not your email…but I had to register my email to even leave a comment, so you could have brought it to ME in email too, instead of embarrassing me and making me feel bad, simply for trying to make sure you had good intentions in posting about Norris.

        One last thing… If you want to be the parent of a child with Down syndrome, please go to Reece’s Rainbow’s website. Lots of sweet babies who need good homes. My favorite ones to dream about are the Chinese ones. Those cheeks, my goodness.

        God bless.

        • Anonymous

          i never saw this until tonight, when it was brought to my attention by another reader. i apologize if i offended you…i was defensive but i believe that we were both defending the same cause. i assure you my intention was not to embarrass you, and as i re-read my thoughts from earlier i really don’t think they sound mean, but defensive, yes. i genuinely apologize for that. i felt like some of the words you used (that i mentioned) were a little aggressive…can you see that perspective at all?

          we are all in the same boat…trying to do this whole thing right, and sometimes we pick at each other when really we have the same goal. i spoke to you publicly for a reason (i assume if someone posts here they don’t want to speak to me privately-honestly-it wasn’t to be rude) and i assure you i am not trying to win back a reader…it sounds like you are pretty set on your opinion of me. i just wanted to apologize and wish you the best.
          angie

  • Kelly H.

    What an amazing follow-up to an incredible story.  I look forward to reading more about sweet Norris and his family.  Go TEAM Norris Go!

  • Ckrupke7

    Awesome Angie! Great to meet him:)

  • Mindy Rumuly

    Angie, I’ve been reading your blog for years, really ever since your angel encounter with your Audrey.  And of course, your husband’s music plays throughout my home at times.  But the real reason I am commenting this time is because I am so happy that you met and visited with your neighbors whose adult son has Downs.   I enjoyed your sweet insight about your neighbor and his baseball adventures, but I really wanted you to meet this guy. 

    As a family with five children, of which two have disabilities, we get noticed but not always greeted or visited.  And I can tell you first hand that the best way to experience these special people is by meeting and forming friendships with them.  Really, life is so different in the most amazing way with these wonderful people in it.  God happily changes everyone around people with different challenges.  I definitely am a changed person thanks to the Lord using my children in the most amazing ways.  But it’s in the ‘experiencing” and not just the “spectating” that will make this best baseball game ever.

    This might sound strange, but I am so proud that you are getting to experience this firsthand!  And through your blog, you are helping everyone see the value in forming relationships with, and not just staring at, people with differences.  God bless you!

  • Abby Thompson

    This morning I wrote about stalking too!  http://www.abby-storytelling.blogpsot.com
    Glad you met Norris and have enjoyed reading about him!

  • http://itwasbroughtonbylove.blogspot.com Southern Gal

    It’s so nice to meet Norris.  Thank you for introducing us to him. 

  • http://twitter.com/queenoftheclick Queen of the Click

    Love the picture and how you captured the beauty of life. 

  • Callie

    angie,
    have read your blog faithfully since before Audrey was born. Just wanted to let you know how much of a blessing your posts are to me, especially the ones that share your heart such as this one. Know that there are many of us who really value, benefit from, and even crave your insight. When I see comments that are hurtful and misjudge your intentions, it makes me so nervous that you will share less. Please don’t! There are lots of us quieter folk who are consistently understanding of your heart and blessed by your words. 
    Callie

    • Lauren

      Love this comment.  I couldn’t have said it better myself, Callie. 

  • Coby

    I’m so glad you got to meet him!  I loved your original post about him – it really spoke to me about living with passion, zest, and just plain old “going for it,” no matter who is or isn’t watching.  I think you phrased it “play like you can’t lose.”

    Thanks for introducing us to Norris!

  • http://www.darkchocolateisbest.blogspot.com Scubagirl

    Hi, Norris!!!!! Just one question, Angie:  are you REALLY that short, or is Norris standing on a box?  :)

    • http://www.audreycaroline.blogspot.com angelac519

      sadly, its the former…:) im only 5’1″!!!!!!! ha!!!!!!

      • http://www.darkchocolateisbest.blogspot.com Scubagirl

        Then Norris is TALL for someone with D.S.  And it’s OK that you’re only5’1″ – I’m only 5’3″ – small people are always cuter!

  • Barb

    Dear Angie, thank you so much for sharing “our blessing”, Norris, with the world.  We are his Aunt Barbara & Uncle Drew and only discovered your blog through your first post about him. You captured him beautifully and there’s a lot more! For one, he always sends his own hand-written thank you note when he gets presents. It’s the best trip to the mailbox we ever have!  You are a joy to read and we look forward to reading all your past and future posts.  B & D

  • Agregor1

    In high school my friends and I were lucky enough to have lived in a neighborhood with a common area like yours that allowed for many nights of just sitting around chatting and many days of cornhole, badminton, ultimate frisbee. Several times a boy our age with Downs syndrome would walk around the corner and stand about a block away, just watching. It was sort of an unspoken understanding that none of us were quite sure how to approach him. Finally, and thankfully, one day my then-boyfriend walked out to him and asked if he had ever played cornhole and if he’d like to join our game. We learned his name was Dennis and that, no, he had never played cornhole. My boyfriend graciously stepped out of the game and Dennis became my new partner. I started explaining the rules and Dennis announced “I’ve been watching for a long time, Ashley, I know how to play.” None of us could help but laugh, and soon, there were few weekends when Dennis didn’t come out and join us for at least one game or one round of s’mores in the fire pit. We were all so blessed to know him, not because he was a little different, but because he was actually exactly like all of us.

  • Susan

    Love this! I totally get where your heart is when posting about your friend, and not for one second has it appeared that you had ill-intentions (I read a comment below that appeared to be possibly suggesting that).  What a blessing to be forming a friendship with someone who is so passionate and full of life!

  • Connie L Amato-Mahle

    Angie,

    I TOTALLY understand your heart and your character in this.  You and Norris have found a blessing in one another!  ; )

    Love your passion!!

    Love & Friendship,
    Connie

  • Jess S

    Angie- I have a brother with Downs and he is 32 years old (I’m 26). Like Norris, my brother, has taught me and my family so so much about life and the simple joys that God provides to us. God bless you for reaching out to Norris and seeing the true specialness that God gave him. Your girls are blessed with such a great role model.  

  • Lauren E.

    Love you, love your heart, love your blog.  Just a question out of complete curiousity…have you ever heard of Reece’s Rainbow?  http://reecesrainbow.org/

    • Lauren E.

      ooopss….*curiosity*

  • thebairds

    So glad we got to meet Norris too!  As the parent of two chromosomally enhanced children myself, I am convinced that your heart and motives were nothing but pure.  Thank you for sharing with the blog world that children with Down syndrome are truly blessings.  So many of these children are aborted when parents get an early diagnosis.  The parents are simply reacting to misinformation and fear.  My children and Norris (and many others) are living examples of a lives well lived.  Thank you for sharing that.  Maybe, just maybe, it will change someone’s mind someday at a critical time.  

  • http://www.jasperwalls.wordpress.com Melissa Irwin

    Angie – i love that your heart is drawn to Norris.  My precious 4 1/2 year old son, Shawn, has Ds and there are several people who just cannot get enough of him and it blesses my soul through and through.  I pray that when my Shawnie is 32 that we, his family, are all alive and well, playing ball in the backyard.  You have no idea how sweet these glimpses of Norris are to me.  God bless he and his family, and you.

  • Alyson

    So happy to meet Norris and so glad you were finally able to meet him as well. I look forward to hearing and learning more about Norris.

  • CC

    Angie, I fell in love with your first post about Norris and am as equally in love with this one. Thank you for sharing your heart and bravely putting yourself out there. I know sometimes people don’t get the heart of your posts….but keep posting! :) You are allowing the Lord to do an amazing work through you!

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  • Laura

    Angie, I had an uncle, who is since in Heaven, and he would just have a ball in his hand at all times, just playing over and over with it. He has Downs too. This story has just really made me think of him and miss him even more. Such a great story, and it seems you’ve made a new friend!

  • Amanda K

    You inspire me Angie.  So wonderful to meet Norris.

  • http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art46155.asp Pam W

    I have an adult son who was born with Down syndrome. When he was a preschooler at his first Mariners game I leaned over to whisper to him a simple explanation of baseball. Before I was halfway through the first comment he raised his palm to me and said, “One, two, three – you are OUT, mom.” 

    He had watched hours of baseball on TV already; often playing with toys or multitasking in dozens of ways, but I did not realize how much he was taking in. 

    All of a sudden a foul ball popped up and headed in our direction but well over our heads. As I leaned in to protect him he mistook my intent, raised his hand again and said very firmly: “Foul ball.” 

    A couple years later at his first neighborhood T-Ball games, he brought all parents on both teams to their feet when he would walk up to the plate and do impressions of our favorite players as he got ready to bat. He was intent on practicing successful techniques. At last he was a player, and he never looked back. 

    I am so glad he has had the opportunity to grow up in the mainstream of our community, where he still has many friends on his team. Every person’s story is different and I respect the many different kinds of relationships he has with people in our community. No one has to be perfect to be his friend. 

    Being as protective and fierce an advocate and mom as Amy who has posted here, I understand her comments. And yours. Sometimes because we are a flinty bunch, sparks will fly.

    I am glad to be introduced to Norris. Thank you.

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  • twyla varnadore

    Oh wow! I just read through the comments :( …. I have a 45 year old brother with Downs Syndrome. He is Only a Joy to our whole family & he is Very Different from most. David is Non verbal. He communicates Very well though. When i was a child, my little brother and I often went crying to my mother because people would mock him and make fun of his “language” which would sound like loud noises to most, but to us he was singing, to us he was laughing. My mom always comforted us by telling us ~the ones who make fun of David, Are not hurting David. He loved the attention… he would just think they were funny for making those sounds! It didn’t hurt David, it hurt us as children. I never once remember my Mom getting offended by someone Looking at David. I remember once in a store a stranger walked up and said ” Oh, can i just hug him?” my Mom said “sure you can!”  I was just about 10 yrs old but, i remember getting teary eyed, not even knowing why? My Mom knew David had the soul of angel, as do all children with downs.    David loved to get out in the driveway and play with his “toys” which at the time were empty milk jugs he loved to throw them to the end of the driveway then back again and he would just be “singing” the whole time. there was a group of about 10 teenage boys that would “make fun of him” they would ride by on there bikes and laugh and make Crazy sounds. This really hurt me and my younger brother. Well one day my Mom decided she was going to go have a talk with these hoodlums! :) I remember watching her from the window, they were down on the corner. The whole Big group of them! We thought, Good Mommas gonna get them for sure!! oh, she got them alright! I dont remember her telling us what she told them that day. I do remember from that day on there was no more riding by and hollering out noises at him. I remember boys stopping and talking to David giving him “high fives”. Once again the tears came. I am so very thankful for the example my Mom was, she is a Jewel to this day! My Mom realized those boys didn’t know anything about David and they were just honestly “ignorantly curious” (my words) I guess.

  • twyla varnadore

    Cont. from below… To this day, I never get offended by anyone looking at David… If  it had been David you were taking pictures of that day, I would have  wholeheartedly understood. It’s not often you see an Angel, and of course you’d want a picture of one! :) there are so many life lessons i have learned from having David as my “big brother”. If I could write, I think it would be a good book… I’m so thankful the Master writer “wrote” him into our lives. Thank you Jesus for making David Perfect.
    I just found your blog tonight and read a  little of your story. I look forward to reading much more! 
    This is just a little something I wrote about David a couple years ago. http://lifeworthliving-twyla.blogspot.com/

  • Kay Kane

    I have a nephew who is 24 and has downs. He has graduated from high school and now works at Wendy’s. He has been in the special olympics several times. He loves to dance and has taken dancing lessons for several years. He is with a group of kids with special needs. They do a recital every year and are good. He has been such a joy to our family. I’m sure he would love Norris. He also has a girl friend!