“What is normal?” is a question that runs throughout the documentary film Normie. The film traces Annemarie, a young woman with Down syndrome, as she explores her identity and grapples with the notion of normal. Our family had the privilege of participating in this film, and I want to share a few clips from it for two reasons.
Two, these clips offer a spoken version of themes I’ve been writing about for many years.
Penny’s birth, and her diagnosis with Down syndrome, catapulted me into a whole new world of thoughts. In what way was Penny like me? In what way were we different? I wondered this, not so much as far as our characteristics. I knew our kids would be different than me in what they enjoyed and how they looked and their tastes and interests. Did we share a common humanity? Or did Down syndrome put Penny in a different category of human being?
Before Penny was born, I had always seen human beings as broken and beloved, capable of great evil and great good. But Penny’s life helped me to see another aspect of our common humanity.
Humans are broken and beloved, yes, but we are also limited. We are needy, vulnerable, dependent creatures. And being limited is not the same as being broken. In these two clips, not only do you get to see clips of Penny (and Marilee) performing in the Nutcracker two years ago, but I also talk about the difference between brokenness and limitations and the way limitations lead to love.
My children and I have written several posts about Down syndrome and disability this month that you might want to check out on this blog. Penny wrote a letter to a new mom of a baby with Down syndrome and shared about eating healthy and her faith in God, and her siblings shared about having a sister with DS.