“Pity is an emotion that almost always results from an encounter with a real or perceived unfortunate, injured, or pathetic creature.”
I often wonder why pity is the first emotion that crosses a persons mind when they see Alyssa.
A few days ago we went to the hospital for appointments and I let Alyssa use her stander there for the day. I was excited for her for two reasons, 1) she needs to be in her stander for at least one hour a day, so I was killing two birds with one stone (personal victory) and 2) she likes to be independent. Perfect set up!
But then she starts rolling, or not rolling mostly due to her stubbornness, and you see all these faces turn in her direction. Watching her, like she’s an invalid. Pity. Sorrow.
Now I can’t say I completely blame that reaction. If you don’t get the vibe from this blog already, I’ll fill you in. I literally hate the lack of acceptance of the special needs population in my community. When I was younger, and ignorant, and saw children out with their families who required different needs, I had the same response. I pitied that family. Assuming that child, or even that entire family, was sad or disappointed with their journey, and I couldn’t of been more wrong. But I was a child, and I didn’t know any better. Then after I had Alyssa I pitied her myself. I felt like I had given her the worst scenario imaginable as an infant and all I could do was apologize. Repetitively. Until I realized her life will be more fulfilling than I will ever understand. And honestly it may not be meant for me to understand. So when it comes to adults, I have little to no patience for that thought process.
When you see Alyssa, or any other child that may seem different on the outside, I hope you see what I’ve learned to see. Perseverance. Strength. Pure joy. A beautiful soul, an old soul with more wisdom at 4 years old than most people will encompass in a 90 year life span. As a matter of fact, I hope you envy her.
I hope you see a girl who had defeated the odds since birth. Who spent her first 2 years of life in a hospital room more than her own home. Who will continue to have a relationship with the medical world I wouldn’t even want to imagine. Who overcame the dozens and dozens of obstacles placed in front of her with the biggest smile on her face. A young girl who knows what loving unconditionally means and is more than willing to spread that love to others who come around her. A girl who is defining her life with positivity, not pity.
And pass that knowledge on to your children. And your family, maybe reread this for yourself. The last thing Alyssa needs is pity. She needs acceptance so we can break that stereotype that with these children comes some type of misery or loss. See her for who she is, not for what you may think she lacks.