Since Xervier was born with Down syndrome 2 years ago, I have had two GREAT greetings. The first was in the initial days after his birth when I contacted our local Down syndrome association. The first words from the new parent contact person I spoke with were a heart felt, "Congratulations on the birth of your son!" I tear up just writing about it now. No one has said anything so normal and yet powerful to me in all my life. Up to that point everyone had been tentative or caring or supportive. No one had been normal, for all their love. The second GREAT greeting I received yesterday, as Xervier and I walked into a shopping mall. Sitting outside on a bench in the sun was a woman who was probably in her late 50s or early 60s. Time, diet, and the stresses of life had not been kind to her so it was difficult to judge her age. She was wearing a floral dress and heavy make-up. More importantly to me, she was smoking. Xervier has a habit of greeting everyone he meets in the street with gusto. People respond to his openness with the most surprising levels of familiarity. As a paid up member of the Over-Protective Parents Club, I stand on tippy toes ready to snatch him away if they get carried away with their hair tussling, hugging or even kissing of my son. He had already rushed up to 2 separate people seated on the benches outside the mall and gave them hugs. He was now angling towards this woman, who was smiling at him around her cigarette. I was trying to steer him away, afraid he would end up smelling of smoke or that she might be intoxicated and not a good judge of her actions. Images of accidental cigarette burns were springing to mind. I successfully managed to steer him out of arms reach only to have this woman say with real warmth and delight, "Aren't you lucky? You got one of the special ones!" I said, "Thank you," and we continued on with me feeling somewhat smaller than the non-judgmental, 2 year old moral giant holding my hand. If I had received that comment when Xervier was born I would not have known how to take it. I probably would have been upset. It would have felt insensitive and shallow. Now, 2 years later I know the truth of that statement.