I was talking to a mother of a young girl who has Cerebral Palsy and in preparation for her daughter growing older, and the obstacles she may face, the mother asked me for insight.
The question that struck me most was, “when did you first realize you were different?” The mother prefaced this question saying, “the disability doesn’t phase her, she’s happy-go-lucky. To be honest, I don’t remember what I said- is was probably something along the lines of, “it’ll be tough at times, but she’ll be okay.”
This question got me thinking though. When did this occur to me? I think I always knew I was different, but the hard parts of being different changed as my priorities changed.
When I was a kid, I was upset that a couldn’t run and play like the other kids.
When I was a teenager, it bothered me that I couldn’t get into peoples’ houses in order to go to parties. (not that I was much of a partier, but I would’ve given a kidney to be able to pretend I was)
Now that i’m older, the lack of privacy and physical independence to do what I want, when I want weighs on me.
If I was able to answer the mother now, i’d say this: “As her life and priorities change, her struggles will too. As she grows up, she’ll discover new aspects of her life that truly suck, but she’ll find other aspects of her life that don’t. It’ll be tough at times, but she’ll be okay”