Reprinted from the bostonherald.com
Daughter’s a rarity to treasure
By David Falcone
Saturday, August 6, 2005
Both rarities for sure: blue lobsters and Billy Mueller.
The blue lobster – one in 2 million – results from a genetic anomaly. An extra protein creates the cerulean hue. Like a golfer’s hole in one, a blue lobster is cherished by any fisherman lucky enough to pull one out of the sea. A prince among lobsters, if you will, and often thrown back out of reverence.
And Billy Mueller, the soft-spoken third basemen for the Red Sox. He works hard and produces and then goes home to his family and forgets he’s a baseball player. He never complains. He does not seek attention by growing his hair too long or asking out of a game because he’s having a bad day. He brings honor to a gathering of fools. What are the odds of that?
And so I dream of what I will tell my 2-year-old daughter one day. How special she is. How rare – one in 1,000. An extra chromosome making three where there is usually a pair. A total of 47 in a cell where there are usually 46. An extra chromosome of perfectly good genetic material. An extra bit of life entwined on a helix that continues to mystify us all.
How will I tell her that babies with Down syndrome every day are determined by doctors and mothers and fathers to be a “mistake,” a “burden,” a malevolence that must be eliminated.
In fact, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology tells us that many pregnant women receive only negative information from doctors when a prenatal screening indicates the possibility of Down syndrome. Other studies show that the abortion rate of babies with Down syndrome is as high as 90 percent after such screenings. More babies with Down syndrome are being aborted than are being born.
Out of ignorance we are killing angels. The knowing and loving gaze of these children with beautiful almond-shaped eyes is seen less and less because they will not see the light of day.
That’s why I sit with my daughter and watch baseball. Happy that she’s alive and learning the greatest game ever invented, a perfectly beautiful game, with all its mistaken measurements and odd configurations, played by rare individuals.
I read her books and teach her colors, such as blue, for instance. The sky is blue and the sea reflects its hope and promise. And beneath the sea’s dappled reflections, an occasional rare creature that is a symbol of wonder and beauty we preserve rather than destroy.
What will I tell my daughter when she is old enough to understand?
I will tell her about blue lobsters and Billy Mueller.