I thought I'd start at the beginning today...
Once there was a little girl who had cerebral palsy. She came home from school one day in tears..."The other kids stare at me, mom," she said.
"They are staring at your strength," her mom said.
And the little girl believed her mom. The next time somebody stared, she smiled. She knew. She knew they were staring at her strength.
And whenever she fell, she remembered the the words of her dad.
"You can do anything that anyone else can do," he said. "It just takes you longer and you'll have to try harder."
She carried those words with her everywhere, knowing that she could do anything...the strength of her spirit could overcome the weakness of her legs.
When the little girl was six years old, she met a little boy. The little boy had ADHD, so his brain worked differently too. But just like the little girl, he was perfect just the way he was.
The little girl and the little boy became friends. When the little girl would fall and scrape her elbows during recess, the little boy would wipe her tears, take her hand and walk her to the nurse. And when the other children ran around outside, the little boy sat with the little girl and together they imagined a world where animals talked....different was okay in this world.
Once, another child said something mean to the little girl about her
wobbly legs. She was about to dissolve into tears until she saw the
little boy come up behind her. He stood up for her.
And in gym class, when the little girl couldn't participate because of her wobbly legs, he sat out too, and they played together.
Sometimes the little boy had trouble spelling words and doing math because the letters and numbers would get all mixed up in his head. So the little girl sat with him and showed him how.
One day, the teacher's aide scolded her. "He is slowing you down," the aide said. "Don't help him anymore."
But the little girl knew. He waited for her on the playground, and she waited for him in the classroom. They helped each other. So, in whispers, she continued to teach him how to use his numbers and letters.
The little boy and the little girl were in the same class for five years...for five years, he helped her on the playground and she helped him in the classroom.
Today, the little boy and the little girl aren't so little anymore, but they are still friends. And the little girl who isn't so little anymore will never forget the words of her parents and the kindness of the little boy....she always carries these gifts with her and looks to them whenever she feels lost.
When people stare, she remembers her mother's words—they are staring at your strength—and she stands a little straighter. When she feels like she can't do something, she remembers her father's words—you can do anything—and she tries again. And when she feels alone, she remembers the little boy who took her hand when she fell, the little boy who kept her company and who was there to stand up for her when she needed him.
All she has to do is remember, and suddenly the world is beautiful again.