Adult relationships are far different than those we held as children. We no longer have to give every child in our class a Valentine, could you imagine the confusion on the IT guy’s face when you handed him a big heart card with a puppy on it?, we don’t have to stand in a single file line when traveling from one place to another, might be odd to line up for lunch and potty breaks these days, and we certainly don’t have to “buddy up” with the kid in the class that called us names during recess the day before. We now get to choose who get’s our Valentine, who we walk with from one place to another and who we buddy up with.
In thinking about the people I have chosen to walk with I note such vast differences. For some of us the happiest place on earth REALLY is Disneyland, for others it’s a concert with a microbrew, and for some of us it’s anywhere our children and/or spouses are. Some of us are quiet and mythodical in our thinking, not responding until we have thought things through and others quick to speak. We are made up of diabetes, birth marks, scars, missing organs, eczema, depression and that’s just to name a few.
I personally am the quick to speak, a bit more brash than others, the complicated unpredictable type. I am a NY Yankees fan in the pacific NW, have a soft spot for saddle shoes, still think 90’s grunge is the greatest genre of music, have a small obsession with the mafia and secretly wish a mini horse lived in my house.
When I was younger I traveled a lot and spent years in several different states. These travels were where I learned the true beauty of accepting ones differences. I remember moving 1500 miles from home and everybody I met had just done the same. We were a hodge-podge of transplants light years from being on the same page. So we had 2 choices, embrace one another or be alone. I will never forget one of my friends telling me she left home because she just wasn’t the same as everyone there and she needed to find people more like her. I understood because I felt the same way. To be honest, I don’t think either of us ever found those people just like us, but I know for a fact what we did find, was acceptance. Sometimes, that’s all we need. Knowing that no matter how we look, act or that what we believe in will not make us an outcast but make us unique and special comes with comfort. Having my differences accepted led to some of the greatest adventures and friendships ever made.
So what does this have to do with my Mermaid? EVERYTHING. My recent pondering reminded me that she too, will be different. Different from me, different from you and different from 999 out of 1,000 people in a crowd. How I teach her to own her differences is going to impact the people she chooses to walk with.
I feel confident that the people beside me will help to encourage my daughter through her journey and always remind her she is beautiful because they too, are different and understand that. I also know that will not always be the case. She will be faced with challenges and need to learn on her own how to overcome those.
So tell me… when faced with difficulties due to being different, whether it was yourself, or your child, how did you handle that? How have those of you dealing with a “visible difference” moved through life with confidence?
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one. ― C.S. Lewis
– Mermaid’s Mommy