I was at the therapy centre yesterday for one of dd3’s routine sessions, waiting for her. A mother with a down’s daughter came to the waiting area. She was a friend of a mother whose son was also undergoing therapy at the centre, whom I also knew.
Brief introductions were made, and the three of us started chatting. The Mother started to tell me about her experience with her daughter, who is in P5 in a mainstream school. She shared that her daughter was now learning abacus and ballet. She showed us her daughter’s abacus workbooks and started to explain some of the advanced concepts that her daughter was working on. She also shared that her daughter failed in certain subjects and is currently working hard to catch up.
The conversation turned to my situation and I gave her a brief outline without going into details. I asked her a few questions about her experience in school placement. She started to share with me on how she got into the mainstream school, and what were the hurdles in between. The Mother shared that she herself only had a P6 education, so she went into her daughter’s class and learnt about the math concepts so that she could go home and teach her daughter. She gave me tips on what to do and what to look out for. There were a few details that I asked that she could not recall, but she said she will check and let me know through our mutual friend.
Throughout the conversation the Mother and daughter expressed considerable affection for each other with hugs and smiles. She said her daughter was lucky.
Time to go and the usual goodbyes. I found myself saying ‘thanks’ to her before she left.
After she left I thought about her, and I was moved to tears. This is a mother who is full of energy and optimism for her daughter. She was clearly proud of her daughter’s achievements. She was beaming with pride but she was not showing off. There is thin line in between, but she carried that off very well.
Here is a fellow stranger who is gracious and unassuming in sharing her life experience with another fellow stranger. She had no inhibitions and fear in telling me as much as she knew, someone that she has only got to know barely minutes before.
She may not have received a high education, but during that brief encounter she has been a teacher to me. I saw in her the things that I have been looking for since a long time ago, and she showed me that it can be done.