Tuesday, March 19, 2013

SDCH Friends

I'm so proud of my son. Whenever we (or our roommates) have kids visit who don't often come to SDCH, you can see the difference in their behavior versus Harper's. No, I'm not talking about outward behavior like patience or manners, or the ability to sit still. I'm talking about something a little less noticeable.

You see, there is this sweet resident at SDCH who is pretty much the celebrity - just as Norah is in PCMC's PICU. We'll just call her "S". Like anyone else that spends a considerable amount of time there, we adore S. She is sweet, smiley, and silly. She's an amazing 7-year old that has been through so much... And I think she may have a little crush on Harper. He always wants to say hello to her, and she to him. She gets super excited to see him, and has on a few occasions, spotted him from the other end of the hall, and wheeled immediately over to greet him.

Here's my favorite part: when Harper looks at her, he doesn't see her wheelchair. He doesn't see the massive amount of equipment strapped to her chair that for sure weighs more than she does. He doesn't see any of her mental or physical challenges. He doesn't see her quirks and "isms" that are different from other kids. He only sees her. When she comes to our doorway to talk to us, I've seen the way other kids often look at her. They look her up and down, taking in every bit of her disability. And for those of you that may think I'm just referring to your children, I'm not. We've been there for quite awhile and have had a lot of young visitors. I'm referring to just about all of them (I suppose the adults do it too). I know with kids, their curiosity almost comes from an innocent and interested place. They haven't seen S before. They don't understand. This is not a criticism.

Rather, it is a compliment to my son. He has been so very exposed to these special needs kids, that he only sees people, not people with disabilities. A month or so ago, one of the residents that has been there pretty much his whole life wheeled past us in the hallway. He said "Hi, little boy" to Harper. Harper hid behind me. "He's scared of me," the resident said with an unoffended and understanding tone. "No, no," I assured him. "He's just the shyest kid you'll ever meet." And it's true. He wasn't scared of the way this resident looked. He was simply being shy as he always is.

I'm so proud of Harper and who he is becoming. He is a polite, sweet, caring boy, that sees people for who they are, not for what they can or can't do.
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