Ability or Disability

I am a Speech-Language Pathologist, though I haven’t worked full-time since having the twins. I love being a Speech Path and I love the families that I have been able to touch and help. I love that I have heard children tell their parents “I Love You” for the very first time or witness a child take their very first bite of food when everyone has told their parents it was impossible.

Each of these families’ stories start in a very ordinary way.  They find out they are pregnant and at some point during the pregnancy or in the early development they find out their children are not “normal”.  They are different.  They are no longer the perfect child that their families have dreamed and prayed about.  These parents are told how their children will always be “different” and how they have disabilities that will make life difficult in the future.

I have seen these parents grieve the perfect children they could have had, but more often than not, I get to see precious angels that God has given these children in the form of their parents. The parents are strong, brave and brilliant. They are their child’s best advocate. They cheer when they hear the first sounds out of their child’s mouth and they cry tears of joy the first time they hear their child say “I uh u.” (I Love You.) It may not be perfect, but it means everything. They no longer look at their children and the disabilities they have, but they see what their children are able to do. Some will never speak, but the glint of ornery in their eyes when they manage to push the bowl off the table speaks for them. The silent tear that rolls down their cheek when they can’t do something that they want to do. These parents see how hard these kids work and are the first to tell everyone around them what their child is able to do now, not what they can’t do.

I had a precious woman in my life that when asked “if she would change anything about her child with Down Syndrome what would she change?” (Yes, someone actually asked her that question.) I will always remember her response.  She has three children and two are “normal”.  The mother first mentioned the oldest and gave a list of the things she would change, then did the same for the youngest child.  But when she came to the middle child, with Down Syndrome, she just smiled and said “she would not change one little thing about her.”  God had made that precious child perfect.  In fact, she, the mother was the one who had been changed and blessed the most from her child with Down Syndrome.  She instead named all of the her child’s abilities.  I have known her child since I was a little girl and she is kind, loves everyone, is fiercely loyal, and is always happy.

Many of us may wonder how this mother could feel like this, but I have seen it so many times.  I believe that this is what true, unconditional love looks like.  This is the love God has for each of us. We all have so many bad habits and flaws that when you look at us without the filter of love you can see all of our disabilities and short comings.  However, when God looks at us he can only see the things that we are able to do.  I know that when we stand in judgment, instead of God reading a list of all of our sins and flaws Jesus will stand and say “This is my sister, your daughter, and she is perfect.”

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Psalms 139:13-14

Be bold, Be brave, Be blessed!