“Maddy, Maddy? Where are you?” These were words that I have spoken often over the years so, it was not a total surprise to me that she had disappeared while we were shopping. Maddy has a knack for wandering. Not because she is angry or does not want to hang out with her family, but because she finds it hysterical and gets a kick out of hearing us (especially her mom) scream throughout the store, “Maddy, where are you? Maddy, come out now, Maddy this is not funny anymore.”
Maddy has always been able to locate amazing hiding spots. Whether it was way in the back of our coat closet—so far back that it does not even matter that coats had fallen off the hangers and lay on the closet floor. Maddy would find those fallen coats and hide under them and not be found. There was another time she hid inside our dryer. That was a bit frightening. She also disappears in between racks of clothing in stores. When she is finally found, she giggles and smiles and says, “I got you” or “I am so funny!” I should probably tell you that Maddy is 14 and has Down syndrome.
We were shopping at Northbrook Court and I took my eyes off of her for what seemed like only a minute. That was plenty of time for Maddy to wander off. She was nowhere to be found. I searched the clothing racks, the dressing rooms, looked underneath pillows and cushions and asked the staff if anyone had seen “the little girl with Down syndrome who was wearing a blue coat.” I walked outside of the store, looked left then right. No Maddy. I could begin to feel my heart beat faster and I was beginning to feel a bit queasy. I was ready to run to the other end of the mall when I happened to look into the store window display. I realized that the girl with the blue coat who had Down syndrome was sitting in the display window smiling, raising the roof and waving at people walking by the store. My irritation with Maddy quickly softened as I smiled and waved back at her. She was so happy in that display case. Who could blame her—she found another great hiding spot!
Raising a child with special needs is exciting, scary, heartbreaking, intimidating and motivating. Like it or not, there is nothing boring about my beautiful daughter. She brings laughter and joy to anyone that meets her and enriches our lives every single minute of our day… even in a window display.