What Do My Own Kids Think About My Arm?

May 25, 2012 — 8 Comments

“I want to see your baby arm, daddy!”

Apparently my daughter, Claire, calls my short arm my “baby arm.”

I’ve never heard her say that before, but tonight she confirmed it.

“Because it looks like a baby!” she said.

“Really?” I asked.

“No,” she answered.

And that was it.

Me and Claire. And a kitteh.

Me and Claire. And a kitteh.

The funny thing is, we hardly ever talk about my arm.  None of my three kids ever bring it up and honestly, I feel weird when I do with them.  They’ve never known me any other way, so it’s natural to them.  I wonder if that will change as they get older?  When their friends start asking about it, will they be embarrassed?  Or think it’s weird?   I wonder.

For now, though, I like that it doesn’t make a difference to them.  In fact, they love coming-up with new ideas for videos.  The blog has actually made them more aware, I think.  Every once in a while I’ll watch Claire run to her brother’s room and hear her say excitedly, “Sam!  Daddy just buttoned my shirt with one hand!  Isn’t that cool??”  It’s fantastic.

A couple years ago I wrote a poem about my daughter Anna.  She was four and just started noticing that I had one hand.  She was fascinated by what I could do.  She never said anything, but I’d catch her watching every now and then.  It was super cute.

The poem ended-up being published and the timing was perfect.  Anna got hit by a bicyclist the summer I wrote it and we found ourselves staying with her in the UW Children’s Hospital.  Scariest couple days of my life.  So, after a long night of making sure Anna was okay, it made my heart so happy to get the email saying, “Your poem is up today!”  Hopefully you can see why.

Just Noticing

You saw me
sliding my belt through the loops
and were amazed
Your little mouth dropped open
Big blue eyes
widened in surprise
Concerned, your small
helpful hands reached up
and fumbled with the leather
My little assistant
It’s adorable how you’re
just noticing all of
the things Daddy can do
with only one hand.
My angelic Anna 'Nana.

My angelic Anna ‘Nana.

I love my kids.  I love that my limb-difference is normal to them.
And I can’t wait to hear what Claire calls my arm next.

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I'm a husband, a father, an author, a speaker, a friend...all kinds of things, actually.

8 responses to What Do My Own Kids Think About My Arm?

  1. Ivor (England) May 25, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Wonderful, Ryan, and most moving, too. Our children are marvellous sometimes, and at other times, as they get older (mine are now 36 and 32) most trying .. the older they get the bigger the problems/issues they seem to come up with 🙂

    Enjoy this phase of childish wonderment

    Bless you all this Pentecost too .. be renewed with His Holy Spirit ..

  2. Ladena Standlee May 25, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Everyone calls my arm Julie. She always comes along, she never does anything, and she gets blame for everything that goes wrong.Funny…

    because my kids and friend knew me before Julie was paralized and treat me the same now, as i was before.So i know I’m acceptted….Walk in Love

  3. Janet (England) May 25, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    My child’s now 40. (‘How could you be mother to someone that age?’ I hear you cry.)

    I think the only time he’s mentioned my arm was when, as a young man, he was working very long hours in the run-up to Christmas. He reported this conversation to me:

    My child: I’ve been working such long hours, my Mum will have to wrap all the Christmas presents I’ve bought.
    His friend/workmate: How can she? She’s only got one arm.
    My child: (very,very surprised) It’s never stopped her before.

    I think the only reason he told me was that he’d been so taken aback. It had never, ever occurred to him that there was anything, let alone something as ordinary as wrapping presents, that I couldn’t do.

    To children, their parents are the norm by which everyone else is judged.

    • Ladena Standlee May 26, 2012 at 11:52 am

      So true sometimes i find myself with a cup in my hand,bookbag on, keys in mouth and waitting for someone to open the door. It hits them a second later when i dont spring in to action to open the door…Got to Love the Way They See Us…..

  4. Lukas Jakabovic May 25, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    That´s just super cute! 🙂 Im glad that they are aware and you dont have serious problem with this, this is the way it should be everytime and with everyone.. Say hello to your kids from a guy from Slovakia 🙂 Kudos to them and ofc again to you :).. LOH “revolution”! 😀

  5. Really beautiful and particularly heartfelt entry, Ryan… Really cool.

    Keep up the awesome work!

  6. Ryan, this is awesome!!
    It’s truly amazing how you’re talented in so many different ways! Kids say the darndest (not sure if that’s the right spelling) things huh? 🙂 Keep up the great work!

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