Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Giving Gifts

By Stephanie Bissol

Our family donated a copy of the book "Gifts" to our school library. I was also able to read "Blue Ribbon. First Place" to the 4th grade class of Afton Elementary and Manor Elementary in Pennsbury School District in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

Here is a picture of my son Joey with the Librarian at the ceremony in November.

Months later I received this email:

Dear Stephanie,

Hi there. Let me introduce myself. I am "Sue Berner -1st grade teacher at Afton" I am a grandmother to our beautiful Princess Leah who is 20 months old and who has Down Syndrome. Needless to say, 20 months ago, seems like many years ago ...we've been through so much in such a short amount of time. Would love to chat with you. I didn't want to call you as I'm sure you have a very busy evening schedule with the three kids. If you could call me whenever it is convenient for you, it would be much appreciated.(Probably late in the eve.)

I just read the book ,Gifts, that you donated to the Afton Library and found each and every story so inspirational. Leah is now going thru much of what you said about Megan.(She's belly-crawling) I loaned it to my daughter, Heather, who lives in Maryland. When I mentioned your name to her, she said it was familiar from the chat line but she never realized you were from Yardley. Heather is a s tay at home Mom (a retired lawyer) of 2 children (Jonah is almost 4).She's 32 years old. She has been involved with a DS group in her county, but there are no children around Leah's age. (They are all older, and mainly working moms).

I'm hopeful that through your involvement with DS, you might be able to guide Heather in a direction to find others in the North Potomac.Md. area with kids around Leah's age. I am also wondering if there is a grandparents group in our area that my husband and I could get involved with. (I live in Yardley, also). I would love to meet you and Megan and possibly when Heather and family visit, she could meet your family also.

Best Regards,

Sue Berner

Gifts is well on its way to touching many of lives. I am very lucky to have received this email as it has made my journey on this path worth taking, if only to help 1 person, it is so worth it to me.

This experience reminds me of "The Story of the Starfish"

A father and his son were walking along a deserted beach after a particularly high tide had washed up thousands of starfish on to the sand.

The boy started picking them up and throwing them back into the water one by one.

The father quizzed his son saying "You can't possibly save them all, there are millions, you can't possibly make a difference."

The boy smiled, bent down and picked up another starfish and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied, "Made a difference to that one."


nancyiannone said...

How wonderful. What a beautiful note.

It makes me think of an encounter I had last week. The last time Gabriella had outpatient surgery, I met a nurse who told me a wonderful story of her experience with a child (now adult ) with DS. I brought the book with me to another outpatient surgery last week, hoping to see her. I described her to our recovery nurse, who said she was not sure of the person I described. I was disappointed, but only for a second, because the nurse went on to say that her adult brother, the youngest of 7 siblings, has DS. While Gabriella slumbered, we had a wonderful conversation for an hour. She told me all about her brother. He is so happy and so active, and all of the siblings love him so much. The warmth in her voice - it filled my heart (once again!) with a vison of a hopeful future. I gave her my book, and she could not wait to read it and show her mother. It felt so GOOD! I wish I had ordered more copies of GIFTS when I had the chance - I can't WAIT until it is available again!!

jennifer said...

I love, _Blue Ribbon, First Place_! It's a terrific story of expectations, and hope. I'm glad you were able to share it!