Blessed are all parents, but none more so than those who care for children who come with extra challenges and tests.
I am the child who cannot talk.
You wonder how much I am aware of … I see that as well. I am aware of much; I see whether you are happy and content or sad and fearful, patient or impatient, full of love and desire or if you are just doing your duty by me. I marvel at your frustration, knowing mine to be far greater, for I cannot express myself or my needs as you are able to do.
You cannot conceive my isolation; it’s so complete at times. I do not gift you with clever conversation, cute remarks to be laughed over and then repeated to others. I do not give you answers to your everyday questions, responses over my well-being, share my needs, or comment about the world about me. I do not give you rewards as defined by the world’s standards… great strides in my development with which you can credit yourself; I do not give you understanding, as you know it.
What I give you is so much more valuable… I give you instead opportunities. Opportunities to discover the depth of your own character, not mine; the depth of your love, your commitment, your patience, your abilities; the opportunity to explore your spirit more deeply than you imagined possible. I drive you further than you would ever go on your own, always working harder, and seeking answers to your many questions with no answers. Yes, I am the child who cannot talk.
I am the child who cannot walk.
The world seems to pass me by. You see the longing in my eyes to get out of this chair, to run and play like other children. There is much you take for granted. I want the toys on the shelf, I need to go to the bathroom, and I’ve dropped my fork, again. I am dependant on you in these ways. My gift to you is to make you more aware of your great fortune, your healthy back and legs, your ability to do for yourself. Sometimes, people appear not to notice me; I always notice them. I feel not so much envy as desire. A desire to stand upright, to put one foot in front of the other, and to be independent. I give you awareness. Yes, I am the child who cannot walk.
I am the child who is mentally impaired.
I don’t learn easily, if you judge me by the world’s measuring stick, what I do know is infinite joy in simple things. I am not burdened as you are with the challenges and conflicts of a more complicated life. My gift to you is to grant you the freedom to enjoy things as a child, to teach you how much your arms around me mean, to give you love. I give you the gift of simplicity. Yes, I am the child who is mentally impaired.
I am the disabled child; I am your teacher.
If you allow me, I will teach you what is really important in life.
I will give you and teach you unconditional love.
I gift you with my innocent trust , my dependency upon you.
I teach you about how precious this life is and about not taking things for granted.
I teach you about forgetting your own needs and desires and dreams.
I teach you endless giving.
Most of all, I teach you Hope and Faith.
I am not disabled; I am special!
Sue Brown ©