Last night, my wife and I were sitting in bed, she reading a Lori Wick book, me fumbling with the TV remote trying to find something semi-interesting to watch before falling asleep. I had just finished working on cleaning and organizing our basement so that I could feel somewhat un-embarrassed at the state of disrepair and neglect my basement has currently been in since Evelyn arrived. 2 hours later, the space is getting there, but still quite a mess. I was pretty tired, so the likelihood of me staying awake to watch anything of substance was thin.
Flipping through the HBO channels, I came across a movie titled “Miss You Can Do It“.
If you haven’t heard of it, it is a movie about a beauty pageant in a little town called Kewanee, Illinois. But, this beauty pageant is for girls with disabilities. It was created by a Miss USA contestant, Abbey Curran, who herself has a disability – cerebral palsy. Abbey is a true inspiration to these girls, and rightfully so.
I was completely entranced with this movie. Being the father of a beautiful, smart, funny, and troublesome little girl, I couldn’t help but be completely moved at how amazing these little girls were, despite having everything against them. Their attitudes and smiles were completely infectious and I fell in love with each and every one of them. I felt for the parents – how hard it must be to raise a child with a disability!
One story involved a couple who had 2 boys without disabilities, and then a daughter with downs. They thought that the boys were so close in age, they would always have someone to be with and hang out with. Not so much for their daughter. So, they contacted an adoption agency specializing in children with downs. They ended up adopting a child from the Ukraine around the same age as their daughter so she would always have a playmate. Later down the line, one morning, the dad was getting ready to pull out of the garage to go to work and drop off the kids at school and noticed some spray-painted words on the garage door as it was closing. All across the house, garage door, and minivan parked in the driveway were words like, “Get out of town, retard”, “We hate you”, etc.
What kind of world do we live in where this type of hatred is okay? What a cowardly act! I was heartbroken for the family.
And I found myself thanking God that Evelyn doesn’t have to go through life living with a disability. Is that selfish of me? To feel lucky that I DON’T have to worry about whether or not she’ll be able to walk or speak or interact socially with other kids? That she can communicate and function without difficulty? That she won’t have to deal with that kind of hatred over something she can’t control?
After the move ended, I went in to just watch my daughter sleep, rubbed her back, and said a quick prayer. “Please God, help me to be thankful for everything I have and never forgetting the role you have placed me in.”
Being a parent, you realize your life isn’t your own anymore – and that’s okay! The things you give up to be a parent – an involved parent – don’t even come CLOSE in comparison to all the things you gain. It’s the greatest job in the world.