Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Touching Others

My daughter can't speak and she only knows a few signs. In fact, she's only been able to hear clearly for about a month now. So why, then, does she seem to form such an amazing bond with almost everyone she comes in contact with?

My family moved into a new home last Summer. The three small children next door instantly knew my daughter's name and excitedly greet her every time they see her. The two older children always want to play with her, favoring my little one to their own little sister. They've been so kind and accepting of this little child who looks and acts so differently from a typical child.

Often at the church we attend, I'll look around and find that my daughter has disappeared. She's no longer with my wife or myself. She's being cared for and played with by any number of new friends she seems to have instantly made. It's been so overwhelmingly nice for others to accept our daughter and to give my wife and I a moment or two of much needed peace. She just seems to reach out to people in ways that I don't fully understand.

My brother-in-law and his wife don't have any children yet, which has been difficult for them at times. She wrote me a while back and said that being with my daughter had brought her great peace. She feels that her future child will one day be good friends my little one. This in turn makes me feel peace as well. (I had always worried about my daughter not being accepted by her peers.)

It goes on, too. Nurses, knitting special booties for my daughter when she's been hospitalized. Physical therapists wanting to stay on and care for her when it's time to turn her care over to others. Other workers wanting to come more often to help out with her development.

So how does someone who can't speak or sign build such bonds? I think it's from the kind of person she is and the kind of spirit she must have within. There are times when I have felt that my daughter's being disabled is for a very distinct purpose in God's plan. I may not know what that purpose is yet, but so far it seems to do with showing unconditional love to others. She's an amazing little one that I often don't feel adequate to care for. So without saying a word her spirit reaches out to other children, to adults, her caregivers and so many who come in contact with her. It's an inspiring thing to watch. And as any parent would probably say, "I need all the inspiration I can get!"

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