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Monday, August 07, 2006

I am the child...

I am the child who cannot talk.
You often pity me; I see it in your eyes.You wonder how much I am aware of...I see that, as well. I am aware of much:whether you are happy or sad or fearful, patient or impatient, full of love and desire to help me or just doing your duty by me. I marvel at your frustration, knowing mine to be far greater, for I cannot express myself nor my needs as you do. You cannot conceive of my isolation, so complete is it at times. I do not gift you with clever conversation, cute remarks to be laughed over and repeated. I do not give you answers to your every day questions, responses regarding my well-being, sharing of my needs, or comments about the world about me. I do not give you rewards as defined by the world's standards - great strides in development for which you can credit yourself. I do not give you understanding as you know it. What I give you instead is so much more valuable...I give you opportunities. Opportunities to discover the depth of your character, not mine; the depthof your life, your commitment, your patience, your abilities; the opportunity to explore your spirit more deeply than you imagined possible. I drive you further than you would ever go on your own, working harder,seeking answers to your many questions, creating questions with no answers.
I am the child who can not talk.

I am the child who cannot walk.
The world sometimes seems to pass me by. You see the longing in my eyes to get out of this chair, to run and play like other children. There is much that you take for granted. I want the toys on the shelf, I need to go to the bathroom - oh, I've dropped my fork again. I am dependent on you in these ways. My gift to you is to make you aware of your great fortunes: your healthy back and legs, your ability to do for yourself. Sometimes people appear not to notice me; I always notice them. I feel not so much envy as desire, desire to stand upright, to put one foot in front of the other, to be independent. I give you awareness.
I am the child who can not walk.

I am the child who is mentally impaired.
I don't learn easily, if you judge me by the world's measuring stick. What I do know is infinite joy in the simple things. I am not burdened as you are with the strifes and conflicts of a more complicated life. My gift to you is to grant you the freedom to enjoy things as a child, to teach you how much your arms around me mean, to give you love. I give you the gift of simplicity.
I am the child who is mentally impaired.

I am the disabled child.
I am your teacher. If you allow me, I will teach you what is really important in life. I will give you and teach you unconditional love. I gift you with my innocent trust, my dependency on you. I teach you of respect for others and for their uniqueness. I teach you about the sanctity of life. I teach you about how very precious this life is and about not taking things for granted. I teach you about forgetting your own needs and desires and dreams. I teach you giving. Most of all I teach you hope and faith.
I am the disabled child.

Author Unknown
from the International Rett Syndrome Newsletter
(800) 818-7388


Laurie said...

So glad you posted this! I always think about the first part of the not talking, but really my little one speaks to my heart with a smile, a look, a touch or just his amazing laugh. His little pouty cries and sometimes the big wails speak to my heart as well. He says all he needs to say for me. :)

oldfartswife said...

what a great poem!

siren said...

It's a beautiful poem.

Melissa said...

laurie - I love to post various things I get off the list serve! I figure that anything that touches my heart might touch one of my readers hearts as well!

oldfartswife - Thanks! I like it too!

siren - Thanks for stopping by again! I wish I could take credit for this poem, but I can not... I have thought it a million times, but....... :)