The act of writing can help one sooth anxieties and sort out problems. Often, the writer finds themself communicating in surprising ways.
An Extra Dash of Love: Letters Celebrating Down Syndrome is a beautiful collection of letters, written by those who care for someone who has Down Syndrome. There is more real, raw emotion in these pages than most over-workshopped, MFA-doused poetry and fiction collections being published these days.
The subtitle is on the mark: this is a celebration of human beings who share a similar way of life, but who are loved unconditionally. Here’s an example from a mother in Shediac Bridge, New Brunswick.
What I love about my son Finn:
♥ His openness and sweet, loving nature.
♥ How he studies the wheels under his toy car as it moves.
♥ How he brings me little pieces of paper/stickers that he finds to put in the garbage.
♥ How he brings Lily her boots and coat when it’s time to go. He likes to keep her on task.
♥ How he loves to help out with laundry by sorting the clothes or putting them into washer or dryer.
♥ The positive impact he has on Lily; I like to think that she will grow up with more compassion and kindness towards others.
♥ His easy, contagious laughter.
♥ His coyness.
♥ His smile.
♥ The way he greets a loved one after a short absence: he comes running with arms outstretched, exclaiming loudly like you are the most important person in the world.
♥ His determination.
♥ The tenderness he has towards his sister.
♥ How at 8 months old, he had open heart surgery and recovered like a champ.
♥ The pride I feel at his successes.
♥ Witnessing the joy he brings to others.
♥ That he made me a mother. That I am his mother. I still worry about how the world will accept him when he gets older and he isn’t as cute (did I mention that he is adorable?), but he is surrounded by a family and community that loves and supports him. Finn has already made the world around him a little kinder, maybe that’s the most important step.
Tammy, mother of Finn—Shediac Bridge, NB
An Extra Dash of Love is a tender rendering of local folks’ emotional bravery and compassion for those in their lives who are deserving of each and every dash of this type of affection.