Today is about celebrating what makes people different. What makes humanity interesting is that we are all unique. What does it mean to be different? Write about yourself or someone you admire or people generally in terms of celebrating the differences that so often people are mocked for.
What does it mean to be different? To me that can mean a whole lot of things both good and bad. The thing about people’s differences is that everyone carries them with a different level of confidence. You see folks displaying that quirky confidence, the loud confidence, the silent but strong confidence, the silly shy confidence, the not-so-confident and shaky, the not-so-confident and showy, the not-so-confident and pained. So I guess what I’m saying is even differences are different, depending on who’s wearing them. Of course I wish I could shout from the rooftops or, better yet, tell each and every person in this whole world individually that they are God’s kid and that they are just the way they are supposed to be in every way.
I’ve talked about how much I love being an Aunt, and how my niece and nephew amaze me every day with their love and innocence. My nephew is what the world would call different. My nephew was born with no thumbs. He had four fingers but no thumbs. Shortly after he came home, doctors made him thumbs by taking his pointer fingers and turning them to the outside of his hands. They also moved a bone in each hand over towards his new thumbs to give his hands more support and strength. Now my nephew has three fingers and one thumb on each hand. He also has a lot of scars and not much strength in his hands in general. He’s three and a half and has a three year old sister who is much more physically advanced than her brother. I’ve been so amazed as I watch the two of them grow together. At first, my niece had a hard time sharing, helping, and waiting. My nephew lost patience with himself in the blink of an eye and went into frequent tantrums. My sister and brother-in-law were consistent, supportive and open-minded. Talk about celebrating differences! They like to cheer and sing and dance for their children. It’s beautiful and I believe their celebrations and consistent messages of love and tolerance have allowed for the picture that is today:
My nephew uses his thumbs! He doesn’t have a lot of strength and is coming up on a muscular surgery to try to help with that, but he makes no arguments when he is reminded to use his thumbs. His sister cracks me up when she says in her mama-mimic singsong voice, “Use your thumbs”. He takes part in all kinds of games and can ask for help in a strong voice, no whining. It’s not perfect but he knows he’s capable, and he is happy. He loves loves loves his sister, and she loves loves loves her brother. They spend hours giggling with one another, changing clothes or ‘costumes’, reading books, planning tricks or silly presentations for mom and dad. My nephew is a total ham and a jokester. He has this big beautiful personality and engages so well with people. He gives the greatest hugs and will make faces at you until you laugh with him. He knows he’s different and he certainly has a lot of frustrations because of his handicap, but I see the growth and the blessing he is. I think he knows he’s great and special and loved too. One unexpected gift that my nephew in all his uniqueness has given me is a very different meaning to my cutting scars. He does not know how I got them, but he likes to compare our scars. He puts his arms up to mine and points out that we are the same. The first time he did this it brought tears to my eyes. I have experienced the transformation from a painful and shameful memory to a loving purpose-filled gift. This kid is so rad, I could go on for days!
My nephew is different. Different is awesome!!!!