5 Ways I've Changed Since Becoming a Special Needs Mom


I wrestled intensely with my daughter Sarah’s diagnosis after she was born. My prayers were initially desperate bargaining, such as, “Please heal her,” or “Please take away her syndrome.” It wasn’t that I didn’t love Sarah. I just didn’t want her to have a difficult life, and more selfishly, I didn’t want to have a difficult life.

Sarah recently turned 2. As she has grown into “toddlerhood” her unique personality shines more and more brilliantly. And I have come to realize my prayers have changed. I no longer ask that she will be normal or typical because I cannot imagine Sarah to be anyone other than herself.

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While her syndrome does not define her, it has become a part of her. I now thank God for the gift of Sarah — Apert Syndrome and all.

What’s more, I was recently humbled by the admission that I have changed because of Sarah.

These five points are not an exhaustive list but only the beginning of how I’ve noticed I am different and changed.

1. Patience. Anyone who even remotely knows me as an acquaintance, let alone my closest family members and friends, will readily acknowledge I have a short fuse. I’ve never been a particularly patient individual, and I can’t say I ever really wanted to be. But due to Sarah’s unique development, I have developed a sense of waiting without restlessness. There’s an inner calm that resides in me as we venture into new territory with evaluations, specialist appointments, fittings for orthotics and pressure garments, new surgeries, diagnostic tests, etc.

Patience has flowered in my heart since I’ve had Sarah. She has shown me to be angry and in such a hurry all the time is counterproductive.

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2. Simplicity. An increased reservoir of patience has definitely led me to a deeper appreciation of simple moments and blessings. Because our family doesn’t fit into the typical mold, we do not savor the same types of luxuries most American families do — annual vacations, leisurely weekends or exquisite material possessions.

Instead, we’re enriched by a 10 minute walk to the local park where we watch our girls swing gleefully and run around together for unbridled moments of pure childhood play. These are the moments, seemingly minuscule and definitely fleeting, that enrich my life. I covet them because they happen so seldom. Yet if I’m careful, I recognize the small gifts each day presents to me — a short note from a friend, a hearty and healthy meal and laughter shared with my family. I have been given all I need right here, right now.

3. Generosity. Here’s another virtue I sorely lack by nature. I’m the only girl in my family of origin, so I never had to share much of anything — my clothes, a bedroom, my toys, even my time. Over time, I grew to be an egocentric young lady who matter-of-factly wanted to do whatever I felt like.

Sarah’s presence in our family has expanded my heart so I think of my children and what they truly need from me (not want). Generosity means I am more capable of letting go of my time and to-do list in lieu of playful spontaneity with my daughters.

Generosity also means I am willing to extend myself not just to my family, but also to others when they are in crisis or dire need of assistance and support. A generous heart, I have learned, is an open and magnanimous heart.

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4. Sacrifice. Along with selfishness, I have never been keen on offering up my personal comforts in order to assuage someone else’s pain. It’s just difficult for me to do this. But when Sarah was an infant she was so little and helpless in my arms. I knew immediately I could not forsake her needs due to my unwillingness for discomfort, both emotionally and physically.

Sarah has taught me there will be long nights and exhaustive waiting in surgical areas at hospitals, numerous irritating phone calls with the insurance company and even more detailed conversations with specialists, therapists and physicians. Sacrifice entails an intentionality of surrendering one’s physical or emotional comforts for the sake of love. And love, I have found, is not in what I can get from everyone else around me. It’s what I give — and give freely at that.

5. Acceptance. I’m not speaking of tolerance here, but rather a tranquil indifference to whatever the outcome of various medical or social concerns about Sarah. It’s also accepting her mortality, as well as my own, and making the short time all of us have on Earth count.

Acceptance means my ability to say it’s OK if I don’t have all the answers to my questions. It’s entering into the mystery of life knowing there are far more enigmas than there are cut-and-dry solutions in life.

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If I look in retrospect, I’m ashamed at the person I once was. Having two daughters with special needs has opened my eyes and my heart to the suffering of others with far greater afflictions than what our family has to bear. I no longer ask, “Why me?”

Now I see limitless possibilities through the lens of hope.

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The Time a Little Girl’s Remarks About My Daughter Hurt My Heart


Sometimes I forget that Sarah looks different. Actually, I forgot long ago that Sarah didn’t look like a typical baby or toddler. But this week I was reminded – sadly – in an otherwise normal milieu.

When our family is out in public, I often forget that we aren’t a typical American family. Sarah’s condition is not usually on the forefront of my consciousness anymore – not like it was shortly after her birth, that is. At that time, I was in a much different place in my heart. I was often embarrassed or even ashamed, not wanting anyone to notice her visible differences – her mitten hands, her pronounced forehead or buggy eyes. I eventually made peace with these, and today I am unashamed of how Sarah looks. It doesn’t matter to me anymore. Sarah is just Sarah.

Still, I forget that others who do not know Sarah or who have encountered her for the first time might see her the way the world sees people who are different – a stark contrast to the chameleons we see everywhere else, the people who all blend together rather than stand out.

Clearly, Sarah stands out. But instead of perceiving this as negative, I have come to believe this is a gift. It is good that Sarah is noticeably different, because her little life reminds everyone else that we are all people.

girl in orange shirt sitting next to a pumpkin

At the doctor’s office, I was waiting to be called into yet another exam room. I had both girls with me, and it was an otherwise ordinary day. Another mom and her preschooler walked into the waiting room and sat down. The young girl, Emma, immediately introduced herself to Lissie, my other daughter, and asked if she might want to play. Lissie, being shy, needed some coaxing, but she did eventually engage in some passive play with Emma.

Emma then looked down at Sarah, who was gleefully scooting on the floor toward the other two girls. Sarah isn’t aware yet that she looks different. She thinks she is just like everyone else, and that is how she is treated at home – just like a typical, normal toddler. But Emma, who had just seen Sarah for the first time, gasped and said, “Mommy, that baby has a funny face!”

Her mom, clearly embarrassed, apologized profusely. I quickly brushed it off with a wave of the hand and said, “I understand how young children are. They are just curious, and that doesn’t offend me, believe me.”

Then Emma noticed Sarah’s hands. “Mommy, the baby only has three fingers!” The poor woman looked like she wanted to crawl into a hole. What does one do in this situation? We all know that children do not have social or verbal filters, and they definitely say what they mean. But how do we, as adults and parents, respond in these unforeseen situations?

I smiled. “Yes, she had surgery on her hands to give her fingers.” Emma, of course, didn’t quite grasp all of this, but thankfully her mom asked me for Sarah’s name and then told her daughter, “This is Sarah. Can you say ‘hi’ to her?” Emma did, and suddenly she didn’t treat Sarah as if she were a social pariah anymore.

I think a parent’s response makes all the difference in the world in a circumstance like this. And we all – at some time or another – will find ourselves in these predicaments.

Even though I knew little Emma was so young and had no intentions of being rude, it still hurts my heart as a mama. It hurts, because I know inherently that the world sees Sarah’s craniofacial condition, while I simply see Sarah.

 

 

 

 

To me, she is just a typical little toddler, and the wonder in her eyes as she says, “Hi!” to passersby both pierces and warms my heart.

It pierces my heart because I see the stares in my periphery, hear the murmurings and whispers when we are in public places, but she does not notice them. She looks at the world through untainted, unblemished lenses, yet the world does not respond to her in like manner.

It warms my heart, however, because I am humbled by her transparency and her innocence, two very striking characteristics in an otherwise sterile society.

After this incident occurred, this thought came to my mind: a funny face is a beautiful face. This is how I see Sarah. I do not see a funny face. I see the face that has become so familiar and so beloved to me and to countless others. I see her unique features, yes, but they become less apparent over time. Her face has become one marked with love and joy, not one that was formed asymmetrically.

When I see Sarah, I see her golden, blonde hair streaming down her neck. Yes, it is wily, but I find it to be beautiful. I notice her big, blue-green eyes and long, curly eyelashes. Are her eyes a bit droopy? I suppose, but I don’t really notice anymore. What I see is the beauty from who Sarah is radiating from within to an external beauty that the average person may not view. But I do. I see Sarah’s sweet smile and her button nose. Is her nose small and the bridge a bit scrunched in? Yes, but I don’t care. Is her mouth a bit small, and her teeth crooked? Is her speech slightly slurred? Of course, but it no longer matters to me.

None of this matters to me anymore. I have given up the fight of trying to fit our family into a societal mold that, in actuality, probably doesn’t exist anyway. It exhausts me to be constantly vigilant as to how others are reacting or responding to Sarah’s differences. Though initially I dreamed we would be an otherwise normal American family, I have now come to embrace the beauty and gift of each family member’s unique attributes.

A longer version of this post originally appeared on Love Alone Creates.

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7 Things to Do When Your Kid Points Out Someone’s Differences


Last year, my husband and I were honored to become godparents for the first time. Our dear friends had just become parents for a seventh time, adopting an African American boy they named Trae.

Trae was born prematurely with a diagnosis of Apert syndrome, a condition in which the child’s skull bones prematurely fuse, causing some of the child’s facial features much more prominent or receded. Additionally, children with Apert syndrome can have fused toes and fingers, are prone to deafness, seizures, and cleft palate, and can develop more slowly than their peers.

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Trae utilizes a special stroller and high chair, each designed to accommodate his physical needs. He receives multiple therapy sessions every week, and he will experience several risky surgeries throughout his early life, including skull surgeries.

Trae is a social little boy whose smile can light up a room. He is 20 months old and has recently mastered saying “dada” and sitting up on his own. He’s learning baby sign language and is teething like a typical toddler.

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Despite his many wonderful qualities, the baby garners many stares and rude comments. One of the medical professionals he recently met with remarked how he looked like a “pug.” Some children ask their parents, quite loudly, “What is wrong with that boy?” Others simply stare. These are not rare occurrences. The family encounters unsolicited looks and comments at restaurants, airports, stores, and even among doctors and nurses at some of Trae’s many medical appointments.

Recently, Trae and his mom were at a store, when a boy, about 6 years old, told his mom, “That baby looks weird!” His mom immediately and loudly shushed him.

Trae’s mom was livid, partly because she was fed up with the constant slew of stares and loud comments about her son, but also because the boy’s mom did the exact opposite of what she should have. She silenced and shamed her child instead responding effectively and compassionately.

Certainly, many of us have been there. We are going about our business when our child notices someone different: the woman with the large backside, the man in the wheelchair who is missing a leg, the child with Down syndrome. Our natural instinct is to shut down the situation as quickly as possible, but doing so sends a powerful message to our children.

Instead of shushing children for stating the obvious, that the person (or family) in front of them is appears different, parents can do the following:

1. Apologize. When your child behaves rudely, apologize on the child’s behalf, immediately and without excuse. Try something like: “I’m sorry my child spoke rudely.  He is curious about your son and didn’t respond appropriately.”

2. Introduce yourself. Follow up your apology with a personal introduction. “I’m Kate, and this is my son Jacob. What is your little boy’s name?” Be sure to address the child, as well. He or she shouldn’t be ignored. Say something like, “Hi there! How old are you?”

3. Don’t interrogate. There is no reason to ask what is “wrong” with a child or demand an explanation of the child’s condition or the family dynamic. If a parent wishes to share information about his or her child or family, that is their choice. If the child wishes to share, depending on the age and level of maturity and development, that is the child’s choice.

4. Treat the child like a person, because he or she is a person. Smile, offer a compliment, and make small talk. This is how friendships are formed.

5. Follow up with your child privately. Talk to your child about the appropriate way to respond to someone new. This might mean an immediate introduction, offering to share a toy or play together, or even something as simple as a smile or a high-five. Remind your child that it’s okay to notice difference, but questions and comments should be reserved for private, family conversations at a later time. You may not have all the right words to explain a situation, but remember that by being open and honest with your child, you are conditioning your child to know that he or she can come to you about any topic and be received with open arms and heart.

6. Use any mishaps as teachable moments, for both you and your child. Children will be children. They will say things they shouldn’t. If you don’t handle a situation well in the moment, admit that to your child and discuss what should be done differently in the future. If you do shush your child, apologize for doing so. And if your child, despite your preparations, responds to a situation inappropriately, talk about how it can be better handled in the future.

7. Evaluate your own relationships. How diverse is your circle of friends? Do you welcome others who are different from you? Do you have true friendships with others who don’t share your race, religion, age, or ability?  If your child were to look at you and your friends, would they see same-ness or acceptance of difference?  You cannot expect your child not to be intrigued by someone who looks different when the child is only around those who look and interact just like him or her.

Children are naturally curious and excited when they discover something or someone new. As parents, our job is to demonstrate to our children what empathy, compassion, friendship, and diversity looks like. Shushing is shame-inducing, not inclusion-promoting.

Next time, smile, say hello and give friendships a chance to form.

The Mighty is asking the following: Can you describe the moment someone changed the way you think about a disability or disease? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected]ghty.com. Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio.

Beth's daughter sitting outside

How a Near-Stranger Changed My Little Girl's Life With a Pair of Shoes


As I walked out the door, my 6-year-old, Lily, was worried. She always worries when I take Sarah to the doctor. But Sarah was breathing well — this was not one of her colds turned emergency. She was healthy. I had no qualms at all about telling Lily, “This is not a big deal. This will be a quick trip. I’ll be home in a few hours.”

A few hours later, I was in an ambulance on our way to be admitted to the second hospital of the day. We were rushing. They wanted to put her in an operating room right away. Would Lily think I’d lied?

My 3-year-old daughter was in the hospital again. Honestly, the surgeries are bad enough, but these unplanned trips really take a toll on the whole family.

It’s hard to express the feelings associated with these events. It’s happened often enough to feel familiar, familiar enough to even inspire a certain level of comfort. Sarah slept peacefully in the back of the ambulance while I chatted amiably in the front with the driver.

Familiar but discouraging. It can be really, really discouraging.

I don’t want to be the mom who knows the ER doctors by name and has favorites. I don’t want to be the mom who knows who to ask for when the nurse cannot get an IV in her arm. I don’t want to be an ambulance connoisseur. But I am.

Put on your game face. Wear optimism like armor.

Avoid discouragement, pessimism and frustration. Above all, don’t ever compare your kid to other kids. There isn’t a special needs handbook teaching us how to be parents, but if there was, that is what it would say. Block print, bold face, all caps: DON’T COMPARE.

It isn’t fair. But you can’t go there because your job — your one and only job in that time — is to help get your kid better. You can’t do that if you’re wrapped up in how unfair it all is. Life is unfair. That bit of pop wisdom doesn’t make you feel any better now than it did when you were a kid.

A good attitude is better medicine than anything a doctor can give, but it takes a lot of energy. Small things aren’t always small. When you need encouragement, small things are huge. It’s huge when people make dinner or send small gifts to the kids or help with cleaning. It’s love. It’s encouragement. It can be the antidote to wearisome pessimism.

One of the first people to offer her help and support and “anything you need” was Madison “Peach” Steiner-Akins. I don’t really know her — I’m friends with her on Facebook. She’s a vibrant, enthusiastic force and a champion for kindness. She’s an artist and an optimistic visionary determined to reshape the world.

She was offering the support of a community she built with smiles and art and joy.

Peach believes that kindness is contagious. She believes that small things make a big impact, and she believes that hope heals. So, she founded Peach’s Neet Feet. PNF uses a diverse group of artists, including Peach herself, who volunteer their time to make special shoes. Magic shoes.

shoes given to Beth's daughter from Peach's Neet Feet. one shoe has a picture of minnie mouse and the other shoe has a pink banner that says 'choose kind'

The shoes are custom painted for kids who need inspiration — kids who are fighting bigger battles than kids should have to fight. Each child has their own story and interests and dreams. These shoes provide the canvas for them to illustrate a small part of that.

When Sarah received her shoes, she knew they were for her right away. Minnie Mouse and rainbows! She was so excited. We put them on, and she immediately stood up a little straighter than usual. I don’t know whether they were a better fit for her foot than she was used to or if she was just excited and proud, but what happened next was pretty amazing. Sarah took a step. Then another one. Then, she walked all the way to her dad. It was not independent — I was helping her balance — but that was dramatic progress! Before that day, I had never seen Sarah move her left foot independently. I would literally have to pick up the foot and move it for her. She would lift her right foot and then would try to lift both feet together. Then, she’d fall. I was beginning to wonder if there was a neurological reason for the preference. Just seconds after putting on her “magic shoes,” Sarah was taking alternate steps. It was work, but she was working. The next day at school, her teachers and therapists also noticed the magic. Just a few days later, they removed the support from her gait trainer.

Beth's daughter walking in her new shoes from Peach's Neet Feet

On its own, that is pretty awesome, but it is just the beginning of the mission. The families are not asked to pay for the shoes with money — they are asked to pay in kindness. Wear the shoes. Be awesome. For payment, complete (at least) one random act of kindness.

With the shoes, Peach built a community. Our community shares stories and encourages each other. We draw strength and courage from each other. When someone needs a lift, she “Peach love bombs” them. She asks her people to help uplift families and do whatever they need. Siblings having a hard time? Parents overwhelmed? Families have different needs. The Peach community steps up, sending anything from coffee cards to toys for the siblings to cleaning supplies. Stuff is just stuff, but they are sending more than that. They are sending courage and hope and love. It is a beautiful and growing community of families and artists sharing stories and smiles.

Encouragement is not a small thing. Wanting to do something and believing you can are not trivial. Healing needs hope. Kindness spreads. Little things aren’t always little.

Peach’s Neet Feet uses art to inspire kids. It may sound small, but it isn’t. She’s doesn’t just say, “Get well.” She says, “Go be awesome! Inspire someone!” It’s a genius mission to spread kindness and healing hope. And it is working. For the kids, for their siblings and for the community.

This post originally appeared on Joyful Catholic Mom.

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Apert Syndrome, You Are So Limited


Dear Apert Syndrome,

You are so limited.

You made your grand entry into our lives uninvited and unannounced. You showed up in one of the most intimate and exciting moments parents experience, seeking to steal from us. And you did. You stole our breathe. But you did not steal our love. You are so limited.

In the NICU you flexed your great muscles trying to show us just how big and strong you really were. With each new medical term, new specialist and new insurance question, you sought to overwhelm and overpower us. And you did. For a moment. But it didn’t take long for us to realize all this new information was just that — new information. And so we read and we studied and we had countless meetings, made infinite phone calls and sent dozens of emails. We became knowledgable. We were equipped. We made a plan. Did you really think you could hold us down? You are so limited

You thought the Internet would be your ally. You thought if you could bombard us with pictures of things we’d never been exposed to, we might crumble. What you didn’t expect was for us to see beyond the pictures to the stories. Stories of people being loved and loving, stories of strength. The tool you hoped would cut us down has provided us support groups and a whole new world of connectivity and help. You are so limited.

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Then you really got nasty. You called in all your buddies and tried to bully us. Month after month you showed us just how many friends you had, how many areas of our son’s body you and your mob could attack and how nuanced and random you could choose to be. Respiratory, vision, hernia, the weirdest pylorus known to man, mal-rotated small intestines… to name a few. You and your buddies kept us and our son in the hospital for months, much of that time separated from his sister. What you didn’t expect was for us to have more friends. Better friends. And an incredible family. They cleaned our house, cooked our meals, sent money to help, took care of and cherished our daughter, took day and night shifts at the hospital to provide relief. They checked our mail, did our lawn and they prayed for us. They prayed hard. You and your gang thought you were big and bad, but our posy turned out to be stronger. You are so limited.

You planned to isolate us, didn’t you? At the very least you must have thought you could separate our boy, single him out. And while he may stand out, he’s far from alone. Did you know his big sister, just 16 months older, doesn’t even realize this is not “normal?” When she plays with her baby dolls, sometimes they throw up and she asks for a napkin and wipes them up and then wipes the floor. And when I’m listening to her brother’s lungs through the stethoscope that I have become quite proficient with, she lines up for me to listen to her — she doesn’t think it’s strange, she just thinks that’s something good moms do for their kids. She was barely 2 when she learned how to turn off the machine feeding him thru his g-tube. And the two of them giggle and they hug, and they can’t wait to see each other in the morning. As for friends — he has lots of those too. Kids and adults of all ages, shapes and sizes. You may have hoped to shrink his world, but what you’ve actually done is expand others’ worlds. You are so limited.

Please don’t think I’m treating you flippantly. You have your territory. You automatically come with surgeries, therapies and in many cases, traches, adaptive technologies, delays, etc. You’ve brought name calling to others, and I’m sure you will bring teasing and taunting to my precious son. You do change how our family’s time is spent, and you do touch every relationship any of us is in. You keep us in places we want to leave and keep us from places we want to go. There are things my son hasn’t done yet that many of my friends’ younger children do easily. There may be some things he or I never experience. You’re without a doubt a force to be reckoned with, and I respect that. You’ve caused us to rewrite our standards, to change our expectations and learn to navigate within new boundaries. But rewrite, change and learn we have. You’ve won a few days here and there, but love has, is and will win the war. You will affect my son every day for his entire life, but make no mistake — you’re so limited.

For all of March, The Mighty is asking its readers the following: If you could write a letter to the disability or disease you (or a loved one) face, what would you say to it? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please  include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio.

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To the Mom or Dad Who Told Their Child Not to Stare at Mine


Dear Moms and Dads,

I want to talk about something uncomfortable. It’s come to my attention that many of the best among you are making a big mistake. I understand. I was too, two years ago.

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My daughter has a rare genetic syndrome called Apert syndrome. When she was a baby, the plates in her skull fused together. That meant there was no room for her brain to grow, and she needed surgery right away to relieve pressure. Her head is larger than average. When she was born, her fingers and toes were fused together. She’s had the first surgery to separate her fingers, so now her thumb and pinkie are released.  She has a tracheotomy, so she cannot talk yet. Because of various complications, she’s spent a significant portion of her young life in the hospital. She’s developing muscles she needs to sit up on her own and to walk. She will do these things, but for now she’s in an adaptive chair. My beautiful girl stands out.

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I already have to teach my girls that some people are just mean and you cannot let it bother you. I already have to teach my girls that loving people who are mean is part of what it means to be Christian. I am trying to teach them that most people are good, and that is where you come in.

When I take my little girl out, we see all kinds of reactions, but the most natural, the most genuine, the most common, is the reaction we see from most kids. They look.  Some are puzzled. Some worried. The most adventurous of them ask questions. Almost all are curious.

Staring is rude. Pointing is rude. You know this. You’re embarrassed by your child because they’re pointing or staring. You shush your child and pull them away quickly, and I know you’re doing it to save my feelings, but my feelings are not so fragile and your action is doing real damage. You’re teaching your child to be afraid of what they don’t understand. I bet that most of you have a short conversation about diversity and not staring later; you’re good parents, after all. I would like to challenge you to have the conversation right there. Put a smile on. Say hello. Introduce yourself and your child. I will introduce myself and my children. Your child will ask questions. Likely the same questions you would want to ask, but you feel rude highlighting the differences, even when they’re obvious.

Here’s the thing: kids categorize. They need your help — and maybe mine — to make sure Sarah gets into the right category. They ask questions to figure out how things fit in their world. When you don’t let them ask their “rude” questions, you confirm my daughter as “other.” Believe it or not, every kid I’ve met who was allowed to ask as many “rude” questions as they liked, learned in just minutes to see my daughter as I see her. She is just a kid.

She loves lollipops. She laughs at her granddad. She has favorite music. She’s going to school this year. Her favorite color changes all the time. Today it was green. She has a younger sister and an older sister. Her favorite TV show is “Veggie Tales.” She’s Daddy’s punkin and Mommy’s sweet pea. She will absolutely charm you with her wide, blue eyes.

Imagine what my daughter sees. A sweet little face unable to look away from her. Pointing. Then an adult pulls the child away, consciously avoiding looking at her. Now imagine this happening over and over again. She’s a bright little girl, and this is hurtful.

At the very least you can model the behavior you wish your child had shown. Make eye contact with my daughter and smile. Anything less and it won’t matter what you say about diversity later. Anything less and your kid and my kid both get the same message from your embarrassment: My daughter is “other.” She’s something, not someone. The initial fear was confirmed. I will take rude questions over that hurt any day.

I’m not accusing. I know it’s hard.

There are nasty bullies in the world. We’ll get over that. We’ll get over the stares and the pointing from people who should know better. We’ll get over the nasty comments.  We’ll get over the name-calling. We’ll get over it all because, as I told my older daughter, no matter how many people cannot see past her differences, Sarah is surrounded by people who love her. People who see her. And she’s amazing.

Kids are not mini adults. They’re astounding little people. They’re curious and open and full of wonder. You can teach them to see a child like them when they see my precious girl, who looks different and rides in a wheelchair. You can teach them to see her as a potential friend. Or, you can teach them to be afraid. It’s your choice. I won’t judge. Like I said, I was you and I didn’t know how to act either. You don’t have to be one of the people who love her — though honestly, you absolutely will if you give yourself half a chance — but please, be one of the people who see her. Teach your kids to see her. Please.

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This post originally appeared on joyfulcatholicmom.blogspot.com.

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