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Down Syndrome, Teenagers, and Holy Limits

Having a teenager with Down syndrome puts different limits on our family than having a typical teen. She has needs that other teenagers don’t have. 

For example, Penny isn’t planning to ever drive a car. We need to support her in learning public transportation and other ways to navigate the world. That support takes time. And effort. And repetition. 

I sometimes hesitate to admit these realities. I worry that people will think this means her life is an inconvenient one, or that her needs are not worth attending to, or that the reality of those limits somehow justifies the way our society treats people with disabilities.

But I have also begun to see these limitations as holy limits, constraints that bring goodness amidst hardship, boundary lines that bring possibilities and restrictions. 

All human relationships involve limits. And in the relationships based on love, I’m inclined to call those limits holy ones. Ones that slow us down into connection and care. Ones that require some sacrifice of time and opportunity with unknown benefit in return. Ones that remind us that we are created in love and for love. 

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