Patience…it is a quality that I work hard to achieve daily. The moments I find most challenging are those when I need to obtain this quality with complete strangers and their complete disregard for common courtesy and downright human compassion.
Often the most challenging of circumstances occur when I am out in public with my children. They are a happy, sometimes rambunctious crew, and like all other kids love to venture into the toy sections before beginning any real shopping. This is when Kameron and Nicholas start scouting out potential birthday, Christmas, or whatever possible presents for whichever holiday/special event is coming up. They usually will take toys off the shelves and bring them to Olivia, in which they will crouch down to her level and help her touch them. These are the moments when we get the “hmm something must be wrong with that little girl” looks or better yet the folks that actually open their mouth and say those words to me. In that moment of circumstance, it takes everything in me to not open the biggest can of Momma Bear Whoop Ass they have ever experienced! Now…. in the beginning, when Olivia was a baby and individuals would comment on how she “seems a little big to be still carried around” or why she wasn’t crawling or walking, I always reacted emotionally and borderline psychotic to their insensitive remarks. If they only knew how difficult her journey has been. The accomplishments she achieved and the hurdles she had to endure getting there; but, people don’t see the gift, they only observe the package it’s wrapped in. This was and still is a difficult truth for me to accept. Unfortunately this is also my daughter’s truth, one that will be with her throughout her life. I had to make a choice and my choice was, I could continue feeling like people are insensitive, ignorant morons, or choose to believe there is good in everyone and sometimes words can escape us without fully understanding the magnitude of their message. I decided when these situations arise, I would have patience and respond in a way that not only advocated for my daughter, but also educated the individual in hopes to prevent another family from having to experience this discomfort. I still get blindsided by the audacity of the remarks, but now I take a deep breath before I respond.
I have learned that people are ignorant to what they fear or can’t understand. As hard as it is to believe, there are still those in society that fear difference. So instead of lashing out at these people, I take a moment to explain that my daughter has a muscular disability called Cerebral Palsy. Sometimes these short interactions turn into memorable conversations. Sometimes the words never penetrate the thick skulls where the insensitive remarks generated. Unfortunately I’ve also learned it’s impossible to enlighten the entire population. But if one person learns to look beyond the difference and see the true beauty, than taking the higher road of patience panned out.
“Patience is a form of wisdom.
It demonstrates that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time.”~Jon Kabat-Zinn