DEBORAH AMOS, host:
Time now for StoryCorps. This oral history project is traveling the country, collecting interviews between friends and families. Today, we hear from a daughter and her father.
Mr. DAVID WARM: My name is David Warm. I'm 51 years old.
Ms. MARY WARM: My name is Mary Warm, and I'm here with my father.
AMOS: Mary Warm is 15 years old and is in the seventh grade. She thought a StoryCorps conversation would help other kids who also have Down syndrome. So when the project stopped in Kansas City near their home, Mary and her father David came in to talk.
Mr. WARM: Mary, who is the most important person in your life?
Ms. WARM: My sister. I really look up to her, and she's a great person no matter her room is messy.
Mr. WARM: Do you remember when you were young and on Friday nights you and your sister and I would dance in living room? We'd take out the coffee table, and we'd turn up the music and we'd get on our backs and be like bugs?
Ms. WARM: Yeah.
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Mr. WARM: Is there something about me that you've always wanted to know but you've never asked me?
Ms. WARM: Yes. Dad, how did you feel when I was born, and how did mom feel?
Mr. WARM: Well, that's a complicated question. We didn't know we were going to have a little girl. So that's the first thing we thought. We were really pleased to have another little girl. And then when we learned you have Down syndrome, I think we both decided that we had to figure it all out, and so we went to classes and we read books and we talked to other people.
But about two months later, I think we just kind of relaxed and realized we just needed to raise you with love and teach you like we did to your big sister and everything would turn out all right, and I think it has.
Ms. WARM: You tell me I'm special all the time. What makes me special?
Mr. WARM: Well, there's a lot of things that are special about you. You know, your mom and I, we both really admire you because you are so positive, because you work really hard for everything that you get, and you go out of your way to make sure that everybody is doing okay. Not everybody is like that. In fact, I told somebody just the other day that I want to be more like my daughter Mary when I grow up. Do you have other questions?
Ms. WARM: No I don't. Back to you.
Mr. WARM: Back to me, huh? What one thing about me upsets you? I'm not sure I wanted to ask that.
Ms. WARM: If you, like, tell me exactly what to do.
Mr. WARM: So you don't like it when I raise my voice, huh?
Ms. WARM: Yeah.
Mr. WARM: Are there some things you want to ask me about you?
Ms. WARM: Yes. What is your goal for me?
Mr. WARM: What are mom and my goal for you?
Ms. WARM: Yes.
Mr. WARM: Well, I hope most of all that you keep your sunny personality no matter what you do. And I hope you find somebody you love and have a family -in whatever way you have a family. And we're really looking forward to getting to know you as an adult because you've been such a great kid.
Ms. WARM: Thanks.
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AMOS: Mary Warm with her father David at StoryCorps. This conversation, and all StoryCorps interviews, are housed at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Find out how to record your story at NPR.org.
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