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We were back in Sara’s with Giulio this time – Rami holding him up to the glass, asking him to choose between little pastry cookies – each one filled with blackberry or apricot jam, then folded daintily into a little pocket before baking.

*Sidenote: as I just asked for the confirmation that albicocca was apricot (I have to reverse-translate words I primarily use here now), he also enlightened me to the absolutely delightful fact that apricot in Arabic is mishmush. It’s my new favorite.

The mom and little girl I haven’t seen in ages were in front of us in line at the bakery. Looking back over her mother’s shoulder as she was being carried, the girl pointed and squealed at Luna. There are a few children I have met in Florence that have Down Syndrome, but this little one is my favorite. She loves dogs and last time we saw her, Luna was still a tiny puppy, and they sat on the floor of the bakery together, Luna giving kisses and her giving as many pets as she could get in.

Today she giggled from her mother’s shoulder and waved at us, reaching out to Luna, and then she laughed and stuck out her tongue, and we made faces at each other until her slice of pizza was picked out, wrapped up, and they left with ciaociaos.

Just a while back, one of the Italian television shows, Iene, had Nicole Orlando, a famous Special Olympic Athlete here (a runner!) travel to Iceland where the birthrate for children with Down Syndrome is almost zero. There they met with government officials and even a few families that had decided to have children with Down Syndrome, and overall they discussed the entire topic of why many in various countries choose not to have a baby that has an extra chromosome. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

My little neighbor in the bakery already knows to stick her tongue out at life and I’ve met so many other incredible humans just like her who thought and think the same way. If anything we need more people like them in this crazy world we’re living in lately – not less.