I am feeling so inspired today and I want to thank a sweet mama friend of mine for her continued support, referring those to my blog that would find it helpful or inspiring to their little ones facing a similar situation as I have. This is what it is all about people, my passion for helping others. I almost lose control of my giddiness reading some of your comments and emails, so thank you.
I received a sweet message from a Mama of a special little boy. Only four and a half, he is just beginning his life and will no doubt have questions about his missing arm. She asked me if I had any advice for her, I paused for a minute before writing back my answer. “Let me think about this and get back to you.” I wanted so bad to type the keyboard a hundred miles a minute but I took some time to think about it. I wanted it to be precise but more importantly, I wanted my answer to be real. I want to dedicate this post to the moms out there facing those difficult questions. Whether it be physical or emotional, brace yourself, you’re going to need all the support you can get.
I am not an expert and I don’t pretend to be but I do know a thing or two about growing up asking a bunch of whys and how comes. Though my parents did an excellent job at motivating me to be the best version of myself, I always wondered if there was anyone else out there like me. I always knew my parents loved me and they treated me no different than my sister but it wasn’t until I was older that I understood what that really meant to me. Now I want you to be opened minded for the duration of this post. I talk about my one armed life, but it’s bigger than that. From missing limbs, funky birthmarks, stuttered speech to special needs, there are real kids battling their differences in this world. Dear Mama of those precious babes, you got this. I’m here to help and guide you. They are your babies-I too was a baby with a million questions. This is what you can expect and how you can take on those questions and concerns head on.
I’m different than everyone else. GOOD. Most iconic people usually are. God only made one of you which means no one can be exactly like you. You are legendary. Only you can make a name for yourself and stand out above the rest. Different isn’t a bad thing anymore, most people are trying to be unique and different just to be noticed. Superheroes are all different and have their own strengths and weaknesses. Batman could never take care of Superman’s jobs-everyone knows that.
Kids are going to stare. GOOD. Kids are curious and they don’t always understand. Show them that you’re comfortable with yourself and they will learn to accept new ideas and concepts into their lives. You will teach them that it’s ok to be different, it’s ok to ask questions and it’s ok to have an open mind about things you don’t understand. You will teach them empathy and compassion; this world needs a little more of that.
I won’t be able to do things so easily. GOOD. If everything came easy, everyone would do it. It’s going to take practice, lots and lots of practice. It is going to teach you perseverance and dedication. It’s going to mold your drive and set you apart from the others. People will witness this and it will make them want to do better too. (Share a story with your child about something that didn’t come easily to you, even with no disability.) I have found that simplified examples are the easiest way to explain to children of young age. Use my example if you wish, learning to swing across the monkey bars took me longer than everyone else. It seemed as though all the other kids were swinging their hearts out before I could even make it to the first bar. With trial and error, practice and persistence I was doing it just like the rest of em’- maybe even better.
People will laugh at me. GOOD. Let them laugh, in fact laugh with them it’s good for the soul. I know my little hand looks like a banana, that’s pretty funny isn’t it? Some people just can’t help but to be hateful; taking that ammo from them is the best way to tell them to stick it where the sun don’t shine. You will have friends and family that love you regardless and that’s all that matters. (I’ve discovered this in my later years, telling my kid self this would have been a challenge but I share anyway.)
I need your help, I need you to teach me. GOOD. There is no greater love than a parent’s love for their child. Dive in and help them but also know when to pull back and make them learn to do things for themselves. My parents were determined that I tie my shoes on my own. No Velcro shoes were allowed because that would have given me a reason to give up and take the easy way out-unacceptable. I’ll be damned if I didn’t sit right there and tie my shoe for 3 hours until I finally got it. I felt so accomplished by doing just that and I am so grateful. Teach them self worth, teach them confidence and most importantly teach them self love. Remember that they are always watching you too; if you love yourself, it’s easier for them to love themselves. You’re not fat Mama, stop saying it out loud.
Why me? Because God is GOOD. He chose you to be different and He gave you a tool to create something special with your life. He hand picked your soul because it’s kind and genuine-you feel compassion for others in a special way. He hand picked your body because you’re strong and your will to push forward motivates others. He hand picked your mind because you’re determined to figure things out without taking the easy route. You’ve got guts kid, you’re so GOOD, that’s why.
Life is going to be tough, it is for the majority. When your babies ask you these questions and you-with every bone in your body- want to give them answers to their questions, just say GOOD. It’s going to be hard-damnit it will be hard. I have cried, pleaded & prayed asking God why I had to be the different one. Why I had to have this curse as I would of called it at 7 years old. Other kids can be cruel, they don’t know any better. It took me 28 years to understand why me. This. I get to share my story with the world in hopes that I can make another little ones life just a little easier.
To the mama who inspired this post, I hope this helps. I hope your little one finds the answers they’re looking for in you- their biggest fan. But more importantly, I hope you know that you’re doing a kick-ass job and your baby is lucky to have you. You were hand picked to take this on because you’re special too and that what’s up. You are GOOD mama. So GOOD. And little one-armed Danahia turned out just fine-if I do say so myself.
With great love always,