|Life With a Superhero:|
Raising Michael Who
Has Down Syndrome
by Kathryn U. Hulings
"Over twenty years ago, in a small Israeli town, a desperate mother told a remarkable lie. She told her friends and family that her newborn child had died. That lie became the catalyst for the unfolding truth of the adoption of that same baby—Michael —who is, in fact, very much alive and now twenty-two years old. He also has Down syndrome.
When Kathryn Hulings adopted Michael as an infant, she could not have known that he would save her life when she became gravely ill and was left forever physically compromised. Her story delights in how Michael’s life and hers, while both marked by difference and challenge, are forever intertwined in celebration and laughter. With candor and a sense of humor, Life With a Superhero wraps itself around the raucous joy of Michael’s existence with his four older siblings who play hard and love big; how Kathryn and her husband, Jim, utilize unconventional techniques in raising kids; the romance between Michael and his fiancée, Casey; the power of dance in Michael’s life as an equalizing and enthralling force; the staggering potential and creativity of those who are differently-abled; and the mind-blowing politics of how Kathryn navigated school systems and societal attitudes that at times fought to keep Michael excluded from the lives of kids deemed “normal.”
No other books about the parenting experience outline what to do when, say, a child runs across the roof of a tri-level house pretending he can fly, or shows up in a 7th grade social studies class dressed like Spiderman, or calls 911 when his girlfriend breaks his heart. But, as Michael’s mom, Kathryn has been trying to figure how to be a mother in just such circumstances—sometimes with success, sometimes with dismal failure—for over two decades."
This book is at times laugh out loud funny, heartwarming, thought-provoking and uplifting. Setting aside Kathryn's potty-mouth, I loved this book! There is something so wonderful about people with Trisomy 21 and the love and exuberance they have for life. I learned things about love, inclusion, motherhood and joy from reading this. Although I know Kathryn and her family and work at Michael's junior high (now a middle school), there is no reason someone unknown to their family can't absolutely enjoy reading this. In fact, getting to know their family through this book would be a treat. I recommend it to anyone who loves a funny, heartwarming story about a normal family in occasionally extraordinary circumstances.