Tara McCallon can remember the first time she ever articulated that her daughter had down syndrome.
She was in the hospital gift shop, waiting for her five-week-old daughter Pip to emerge from eye surgery, when a "little old lady" behind the counter asked what she was there for.
"I said, 'My daughter had eye surgery and, ya know, she also has Down syndrome,' and it was the first time I had said it," she told HuffPost Live's Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani.
What she didn't expect was the outpouring of affection this stranger would proceed to give her.
"This little old lady came out from behind the counter and took my shoulders, looked me in the eye, started crying, and said, 'You're so lucky,'" she recalled. "I remember just being so shocked and wondering, 'Is she crazy?'"
The gift shop attendant revealed that she had grown up with a brother who had Down syndrome, and it was part of what made her who she was today. That moment gave McCallon a new lease on what having a loved one with down syndrome means.
"For me, it just shook into place right there," she said. "And I feel like I'm that little old lady to the world -- telling everyone I'm the lucky one here. We're the lucky ones here. There's no need for it to be a negative diagnosis. There's no need for people to be scared or worried. It is what it is."
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