Blanket Statement

posted Friday June 3rd, 2016


I got a Facebook message the other day from a guy I don’t know well, an artist in town. He and his wife just had their second baby, he wrote. And the baby has Down syndrome.

I invited myself over. He said okay. I think I went more for me than for them. It was weird — I felt this overwhelming desire to sit on their couch and tell this guy and his wife that everything was going to be okay. I didn’t have anything profound to say, I just wanted to wave hello from the other side.

But what to bring along? I don’t know if they are vegetarians or lactose intolerant or gluten lovers; bringing food to people you don’t know very well is so problematic these days. This is their second son, so they likely don’t need clothes. I felt weird bringing diapers, even though that’s the one thing all parents of newborns really need. (That and tequila, in my humble opinion.)

Then I remembered the blanket. When Sophie was a couple weeks old, a woman I didn’t know came to the house with dinner and her son, who was about a year older than Sophie. He has Down syndrome. She was a friend of a friend. She also brought a sweet fleece blanket with smiling kid heads on it, the kind you cut fringe into for a DIY look. At the time, the blanket enveloped Sophie; it felt so big. I dug it out of a pile of clean laundry. It’s actually the size of a large dish towel. Not long after that dinner, the woman and her family moved away. We don’t know know each other super well; I see her on Facebook. I’ll never forget that small kindness.

The blanket. Perfect. I wrapped it up and grabbed Sophie. The visit was brief. The husband and I caught up, the wife and I talked about hearts (this baby’s is okay) and Sophie played shy, running off to their toddler’s room to find some toys.

“It’s okay,” I told them when there was a lull in the conversation. “Everything is going to be okay.”

Where did that come from? Fuck, I don’t know if everything is going to be okay. We could all get hit by a truck tomorrow. Donald Trump could get elected. But I needed to say it. I felt it really strongly.

The other thing I told them was that it’s normal (for me it was, anyway) to feel weird about the whole thing. I can’t put it as well as a friend who wrote me recently, to tell me about her own daughter, who was born with a scary (yes, things like Down syndrome are scary!) medical condition.

“I just remember looking at this tiny baby and thinking, `I don’t even know this person yet. I love her because she’s my daughter, but should I keep her at arm’s length in case I lose her? Am I doing that already?’ The kind of thoughts that you’re so grateful no one else can hear because they would judge the shit out of you,” my friend wrote.

Exactly. Except we all judge ourselves. I hope these parents don’t do that, I hope they are good to themselves, that they watch junk TV and eat take out and go to the movies when they can get a sitter. I hope they wrap their baby in that smiley face blanket and hold him forever — or for as long as it takes. (I don’t think it will take long, they seem to be highly evolved — more than I am, at least.)

And even though the blanket is already a little pilled, I hope that if they hear of a family with a baby with Down syndrome that they wrap up the blanket and bring it over as a gift and tell those parents, “It’s going to be okay.”

Amy’s book, “My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome,” was published by Woodbine House this spring and is available through Amazon and Changing Hands Bookstore. For information about tour dates and other events visit and here’s a book trailer.

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Tags: Filed under: Down syndrome by Amysilverman

6 Responses to “Blanket Statement”

  1. Cousin Amy, I feel like you did the right thing bringing the blanket to the family of the newborn with DS. It sounds like it reassured you as well as them. I’ll bet they were thankful for the sweet thought too. Bringing Sophie along was also a terrific thing to do.

  2. Yay!!! I can’t believe it was 13 years ago I sat down and tried to write something to you . .I can’t remember a word of what I wrote only that I cried writing it . .. . I just know it mattered to me with all my heart to let you know that you weren’t alone on this journey . . .Now look . . wow . here’s to passing on blankets, wisdom and the words that shape lives . . . maybe it does take a village .xx s

  3. Love it! Love you!

  4. Amazing. Perfect. Heartfelt.
    Both you and you artist friend who reached out to you in his time of need.

  5. This post is so awesome. Only you can know how those people feel and it’s going to be okay.

  6. “I didn’t have anything profound to say, I just wanted to wave hello from the other side.”

    Love it.

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My Heart Can't Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome is available from Amazon and 
Changing Hands Bookstore
. For information about readings and other events, click here.


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