I am about to go to bed after a crazy, busy week and I pull out my phone to plug it in. It buzzes. I unlock the phone and up pops a notification from Facebook. I can’t resist the temptation, so I hit the white F on the blue background of the tiny little square on my phone.
There is this gorgeous little girls’ face with pink glasses, the cutest cheeks you’ve ever seen and a smile that makes your heart fill up with love at the top of the news feed. Her mother writes, “She may have Spina Bifida, but Spine Bifida does not have her. Non stop that’s how Lindsey rolls. From the time she gets up until bed this girl is on the go and the world awaits.” I knew exactly in that moment how the mother felt, how inspiring her child is to her.
Immediately I felt inspired by this little girl. I love the way her mother sees her and more importantly what she writes about her. This woman moves me and this little girl makes me feel like nothing, absolutely nothing can stop you if you believe in yourself. I start to feel this immense emotion well upside me, I can’t help it.
I clicked on her name. I have met her before and have also had the pleasure of meeting Lindsay in person, at a birthday party of a mutual friend of all places. You know how sometimes when you meet someone and you know they’ve had pain in their lives. At the same time you can see that they chose life, to be strong and to choose to see the good. That is Lindsay’s mother to me, an extremely resilient woman who I admire greatly.
She talks about her journey on her page, how the shunt that keeps the pressure off her daughters brain scares the hell out of her, because if it gets bumped it could cause major issues to her daughters brain. Her fears, she’s aware of them and faces them head on. Wow.
I scroll down to her next post, it’s about all the equipment they use in their household. It’s a lot, but she mentions something called an Upsee. Imagine a harness attached to your waist and legs and also to the child’s and as you move so do they. It allows her and Lindsey to walk together and do things she would normally miss out on. Lindsey’s mother has found a way to allow her little girl to walk even with Spina Bifida. She found a way. Lindsey and her sister are able to hold hands side by side. I am in awe of these people. What a woman and what an inspiration Lindsey is to everyone lucky enough to know her.
I can’t help it, I put my phone down and pull out my laptop, I need to tell you about her. I need to show you how I see her. So I write.
Through my journey I no longer see kids or people with physical challenges as a sadness. I did when I was younger, I always felt bad when I saw someone in a wheel chair, someone sick or a child that couldn’t walk. I felt bad for the care takers too. You see when I look at Lindsey I see an angel. This blessing that if you look, really look, you can allow you to see the best possible version of yourself. She inspires by just being herself, exactly what my son Jimmy does. They don’t have to be anyone, or accomplish anything, or try to impress anyone, you see all they have to do is be themselves and that’s enough to inspire the world.
What if the next time you saw someone with a handicap of some kind and you stopped and maybe just smiled. What if you looked at the parents or caregivers and said, “wow you have conquered so many obstacles haven’t you? I admire you for your strength, and the fact that your taking care of an angel. What a blessing.” Parents or caretakers don’t want looks of pity or sadness from onlookers, they want love and empathy. At least that s what I look for in people’s eyes when I tell them of Jimmy’s story. To me Jimmy is an incredible blessing. I accept him for everything he is and am so grateful to be his mother. When people see the blessing instead of a little boy with a brain tumor I know were on the right track or at least heading in the right direction.
When Jimmy sees someone in a wheel chair or walking with crutches he’ll ask them, “why do you have that?” I used to say, “Jimmy thats not polite.” Until one day a little voice inside my head said, “watch this.” I didn’t say anything to Jimmy and I noticed something. The people he asks, they stop and pause as they look at him and all of a sudden a look comes in their eyes and they are enamored by him. He asks with such sincerity and empathy that the person he asks just smiles and answers him as if they were long-lost friends. He’ll take his little chubby hand on their shoulder and pats them on the back and with his cute little boy voice he says, “I hope you feel better and smiles this all-knowing smile, like you will don’t worry.” You can see the body language of the person he is talking to just melt into him and fall in love with him right then and there. It’s incredible to witness. People want to just feel loved for exactly who they are. Isn’t that incredible that my 5-year-old son knows that and treats people accordingly?
Sometimes he is just silly, but still says things to that make people feel good.
One day a guy rolled by in a wheel chair and Jimmy blurts out with this admiring sincere look on his face, “hey guy, nice ride.” The man laughed and looked at Jimmy and I and said, “what a kid, thanks buddy. I think so too.” It was’t what the man said that got me, it was the look on his face that said, “yeah I do have a nice ride, don’t I, thanks for noticing kid.” He accepted himself and his situation a long time ago, I think it was nice for a 5-year-old little boy to accept him too just the way he is, wheel chair and all.
What if the things we need to see, the people we have in our lives, and every person, circumstance and situation put in front of us is there to help us. Maybe to grow, maybe to inspire, maybe to come one step closer to knowing ourselves a little better. Every challenge we face is there for a reason to teach us something good. I have seen some of what would “seem to be” the saddest stories on my journey…yet when I look close enough, and I mean really look, I see a million positive comings from something that the rest of the world sees as one sad thing.
Look closely, you’ll see it too.