Thursday, December 17, 2009

Anything but Small

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”
~M. Kathleen Casey

I had the honor of working with a little girl with Spinal Bifida. At the time I was a director of an after school program and she came in with the school aged kids after school.
Sometimes the kids would turn their noses up at the healthy snacks the teacher’s provided. I would hear ‘Winnie’ stand up for the teachers explanations while I was at my desk.
“Yeah, guys…come on, even the doctors tell me I have to eat right. If you ever have as many surgeries as I do-you will heal faster and feel better.”
All the kids liked her. Winnie walked with crutches and frequently had pins put in her hip. She was small in stature...petite. Her favorite shirt was pink and had pink rhinestones encrusted on the front saying, SMALL BUT MIGHTY. It’s difficult for me to write about it now…but all I really remember about her was her strength and courage. She was always smiling, laughing and quick to cheer someone up. She once told me that the surgeries she went though were hard on her parents…
“I ask them if they are going to be okay.”
Why are children like Winnie called, ‘special needs’? The ‘special’ part I understand….so selfless and courageous.
I stub my toe you would think I have squirrels juggling chainsaws in my head for those few seconds….did we get it wrong? I mean…who really are the ‘special needs’ people?

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