Molly's Reviews

Natural HarmonyNatural Harmony: Jade’s Story
Gail Albrechtson
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Interesting Read ... Highly Recommended ... 5 stars

"In loving memory of Jade July 1, 1979-January 12, 1986"

Jade was born, tiny, beautiful and sleepy. Her parents could not believe there might be something out of the ordinary despite their pediatrician’s words that she suspected certain anomalies. Test results were held up for hours and then days as the terrified young parents worried what horrible thing might be wrong with their baby.

'Natural Harmony: Jade’s Story' is not a story book in the sense of an entertaining tale, rather it is a mother’s loving remembrance of the little girl who shared her life for a short time and the wealth of memories left behind when Jade's life ended.

Jade learned to walk and to talk, although at a slower rate than the ‘normal’ child. She spent some time with a foster family during her early months as Gail struggled to come to grips with what it meant to care for a child who is not so different, but is still not just like her peers. As is the case with many handicapped children; Jade was destined to be raised by one parent alone.

For six and one half years Gail and her daughter traveled a road not trod by most parents and children. Most children are ‘normal’ and their relationships and development are ‘normal.’ Jade was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome. Gail came to understand and adore the little girl who never talked quite so well as the ‘normal’ child, and needed special consideration because of a congenital heart defect. Both the speech pattern and the heart anomaly are typical for the Downs child. And, while there were many things Jade could not do exactly as performed by her peers, there were also many things she did and did well. Jade’s acceptance and love for animals allowed the little girl to face the resident mouse with no trepidation. Her determination to garner a ‘papo’ for knowing her address led Jade to learn her address when others in her school class were also struggling to name their own.

Gail devoted much time to her daughter, not unusual for any parent. She quickly learned that while there is often much verbiage about ‘programs’ and the like; reality is parents of a handicapped child face many brick walls: day care, schools and society at large often do not want any in their midst but the ‘normal’ kid. Jade was born at a time when many Downs and other ‘different’ kids were shunted into facilities where they were allowed to live as eternal children simply because no one knew or accepted that these kids can and will learn. They learn a bit less, at a slower rate, but learn they do just as do their peers. As Gail and Jade sat by the lake and watched ‘wheeshes’ fly by, or visited the mall at Christmastime the pair behaved as any ‘normal’ parent and child enjoying the day and time spent with each other.

'Natural Harmony: Jade’s Story' is an excellent addition to the home library for those who enjoy a true slice of life type work. Counselors, teachers and new parents of a Downs child alike will find comfort and benefit from reading of Jade’s life and her love of life as told through the eyes of her mother.

Excellent read, happy to recommend.




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© 2005 by Molly Martin