I’ve met some amazing people in the last few months. People completely outside of my regular circle of interaction; ones that I would never have met had it not been for Nathan. Monday I had another one of those inspiring encounters.
Nathan and I wheeled our buggy full of stuff into the waiting area of the day surgery department. It was jam packed worth of things to entertain both of us for the better part of the day. Even his car seat had a bag sitting in it because of course my child prefers to be held 90% of the day, including while he sleeps. I’m sure we were a sight.
I sat down near a mother and her adult daughter. Babies are naturally conversation starters. Everyone wants to know how old he is? If he’s a good baby? Then talk all high pitched to him. Things like that.
This woman’s daughter was clearly disabled. I wanted to sit there but I also felt like I was putting myself in an unpredictable situation and I wasn’t sure she wanted to talk. I looked the daughter in the eyes and smiled big. She met my gaze with a flat expression. Just as I was looking away, feeling somewhat rejected, her face grew into the biggest smile I’ve seen in a long time. It was like her whole body was now smiling. It was really sweet and really innocent.
The mother then openly starting telling me about how when her daughter was born she only weighed two pounds but look at her now. She said that she didn’t know until at ten months old that she wasn’t developing typically but yet, she knew. She said, “My daughter loves babies.” And she did. She giggled at Nathan the whole time we were sitting there.
This sweet woman continued sharing with little prompting from me. Come to find out she was waiting for her niece who has cerebral palsy to come out of surgery. I was in shock that she already had a special needs daughter and yet the reason she was there was because of her special needs niece. Then she told me that she uses a walker because her health is declining. I mistakenly thought the walker was for her daughter. But her daughter, who didn’t start walking until the age of ten, now needs less assistance than her.
Life is funny. You can’t predict this stuff. In spite of her challenging circumstances she had the best attitude. She was tired yes, but she wanted to encourage me with Nathan’s problems. She knew the nurses and when ours came to escort us back she said, “Oh, hi Lourdes!” She turned to me, “You’ve got a good nurse.” I completely believed her. Why wouldn’t Lourdes be a great nurse when someone treated her so respectfully?
For me the realization is that sometimes people really do want to share their stories. They want to share their stories if they are hard stories to tell and if they are hard stories to listen to. Sometimes it’s just a matter of us choosing to listen even though it’s uncomfortable. In those moments of choosing to listen, especially to the hard stuff, you can find some real amazing people with some redemptive parts to their broken lives.
‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops What if Your healing comes through tears What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy What if trials of this life The rain, the storms, the hardest nights Are your mercies in disguise -lyrics from Blessings by Laura Story
My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!
Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!