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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Challenge of Being Different


Today, Erika was out of pants to wear. She LOVES wearing pants. I suggested a dress, she has that is very cute. It is like overalls, but is a jumper type dress. It turns out, she doesn't like showing her legs. Not because they are hairy, or skinny, or fat, but because they are fake. Prosthetic. DIFFERENT.

So I ask in my most cheerful motherly voice, "So what's the problem with different?"

Everybody stares. I don't like them staring...... Hmmmm.... She is definitely becoming a young lady. And those stares from strangers and friends alike can make us feel like a piece of pepper in a salt shaker. So we had a discussion about how EVERYBODY stares at everybody. If you are tall, fat, skinny, ugly, pretty, have moles like mommy, smoothe skin, blue eyes, etc. etc. etc. EVERYBODY gets stared at!

But she has something happy on her legs to share. Butterflys, soccer balls, basketballs. Things that make those who stare SMILE. :) People decorate themselves in tattoos these days. I'm sure they know others will look. SO, her legs are different. SO WHAT! She WALKS. She is a walking billboard for the grace of God in our lives. She is a walking billboard for those who cannot come out of their homes; to help us remember those who are shut in and in need. If she is out here in Wylie, all by herself, I wonder how many more children there are in the world like her? Who are shut in, or cannot get out and play?
She is a walking testimony of the Lord's grace, and a testimony of those who have compassion on those less fortunate that give to the hospital that graciously cares for her and Sarah.

But she is oh so much more than that. She is not defined by her legs. She is not defined by arthrogryposis, she is not defined by being an amputee, any more than I am defined by those moles that I am so glad I have kept, even though I hate them.

Erika is a blossoming, lovely person, who is full of life, full of energy and humor, and love, and kindness, and boy is she ever smart. She loves all the things little girls love and best of all she loves Jesus. (and mommy too) :)

So, we are going to go out in that dress today to the store. We are going to hold our heads high and walk down the aisle and have a wonderful time, and hopefully, anybody who stares today, will see a precious little girl who is living a full and happy life, and they will WANT what she has. Joy,Peace,and a nice mommy and daddy. :)

7 comments:

AMCSI said...

Erika is so lucky to have your support. You are teaching her to be a strong and confident woman. She should hold her head high. And wear dresses when ever she wants.

I can't wait to meet her and the rest of your family.
Peg, mom to Owen, AMC Support Group and AMC Documentary

The Monroe 6 said...

She is so beautiful!
Don't you wish they saw themselves the way we see them?

DysFUNctional Mom said...

What a wonderful mother you are. I love that you're teaching her such a valuable lesson!

Lorraine said...

We go through that a lot here too. Paulina has phases where she doesn't want to wear dresses, for the same reason, and then she has phases where she doesn't care. She is usually more nervous going somewhere new where there will be people she doesn't know. Then she gets worried about the staring. She also went through a time before her last surgery where she really could not wear jeans, they just would not go over that odd shaped left leg of hers. That helped her get over it. That and having a brother who doesn't have the option of covering his differences with pants. Though he of course loves the attention! Tell Erika we love her and her legs!

Mike and Christie said...

We drove down to the hospital to return the wheelchair before we went shopping. We saw Patti, the intake nurse (whom we just love) She and her friend had Erika convinced she was the most beautiful girl on the planet after about 3 minutes. :) It was good for a familiar place to be her first "out"... then we went shopping and she did FABULOUS! AND... she got a new pair of jeans. LOL

Mike and Christie said...

Peg, we are looking forward to meeting you. :)

Lori Lee said...

What a precious, precious girl, and what a wise mother! I'll remember this post and what you told your daughter. And I will repeat this wisdom when my daughter, who also has arthrogryposis, is older! Thanks for sharing that!

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