Sunday, October 3, 2010

Me, Too (Yo, Tamien): a familial perspective

I took a friend with me to see the encore screening of ME, TOO (YO, TAMBIEN), which had to be one of my favorites this year at CIFF. I was really interested in the film myself as I am very close to my friend and her beautiful little boy who has Downs Syndrome. I wanted to take this opportunity to see the film through her eyes, as a relatively new mother.

The film itself was beautifully centered around the theme of love, and the concept of normalcy. What we perceive to be normal is not always the case, and does not necessarily mean that having a disability does not fit into the concept of societal norms. The characters in the film make us look at how we often seem to ignore basic needs of ALL people, when we classify them into specific groups. There are no boundaries when it comes to people, we are all different, some are a little kookier than others, some are smarter, some are reserved, some are more creative, some are more daring. We can not put people into boxes any longer. The newer generations are making this more apparent than ever, that it is about individualism. One glove no longer fits all, and in reality it never did.

We chatted after the film and discussed disabilities and the train of thought around whether it is better to give a child an opportunity to be with and share the experiences of those with similar disabilities, or with those that society would call "normal". I shared my experience with my friend as it related to my younger brother who has Cerebral Palsy. I feel that he should be sharing in both worlds and is also lucky to be sharing in both. He has his friends from school that he hangs out with in the evenings and on the weekends, getting into trouble just like any other 15 year old. However, he also has activities that he participates in with other kids that have Cerebral Palsy as well. For example this year he attended the Easter Seals camp which allowed him the opportunity to engage in activities that he would not be fully able to do on his own at another camp. These activities were no different than at other camps, however there was assistance and support for him to experience the same things. My friend agreed that this was the same principle that she wanted to follow, and is following, allowing both worlds to integrate. It is similar to being from two different ethnic backgrounds, they may be different, but we need to appreciate that we are lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn, and share in both cultures.

My friend really appreciated the film and how it showcased the breadth of Downs and that we are only limited by our own perceptions, and of the perceptions of others that we are led to believe. She said something to me as well, that I had known all along. She said that she felt incredibly lucky and blessed to have her son in her life, and that she could not imagine him any different. She felt "chosen" to be part of his life. I could not agree more, she was meant to be part of his life, and he a part of hers. I personally can not imagine a better person to raise such a beautiful child, someone open and free with the possibilities out there for her son. Just like all the other mothers out there, they want the world for their daughters and sons, there is no difference it is just a matter of love.

A fabulous pick this year at CIFF full of laughter and love!