A recent study shows that a kid with a disability is not a drain on society, as some seem to think. Their “special needs” do not make them “needy.” In fact, they improve the lives of all around them. I wish I had understood this as a child. If I had, I might not have struggled with depression and contemplated suicide. If your child is “different,” if your child struggles to fit in, if your child needs more help than their peers, I want to tell them something:
Christmas Eve is quite the production at our church… literally. Mary rides in on a donkey. There are sheep on stage as the Christmas Story is recounted, and the wise men arrive and approach the platform on real camels. There is a brass quintet and a choir. And at the end, every person present lights their candle from a neighbor’s flame (the original flame is from Mary and Joseph’s stable lantern), as the sanctuary lights dim and we become a sea of faces lit by candlelight. It’s a beautiful, breathtaking tradition, and it’s the highlight of my Christmas season.
This year, we’ve been asked to play the holy family. When I received the invitation, I couldn’t make up my mind. “I’m not sure I’m going to make a good Mary,” I thought. After all, I often spend the majority of the service with tears in my eyes, and there’s no telling if we can keep T (our three-month-old girl) happy for the whole service. I wrote my response: “Thanks for the offer, but we’ll pass.” But I couldn’t hit Send.Read More
In 1983, when my mom found out she was pregnant, the decision to keep the baby or not was not an easy one. A close relative was the first to suggest she abort and move on with her life, and my mom’s boyfriend said he’d go along with whatever she decided. She was 19. She was pro-choice. She was unwed. She was a college student working at a fast food restaurant… and she was a woman with a strong heart. She decided to keep the baby. My mom and dad got married, and I was born that October. They had no idea before my birth that I had any disability, and due to the rarity of the defect, the doctors had no idea what they were dealing with. I had “stork bites” (blood vessels close to the surface) on my face, and those combined with the disfigurement of my arms caused the doctors to give my young parents the grim diagnosis: I was blind, mentally challenged, I would never walk or be independent, the list went on. We’re not sure what all they said, because my mom says she just sort of tuned out at a certain point. Understandable.