I’ve been feeling very inspirational-y lately.
Lots of thinking about dreams and stars and how to reach them and such. So, when I found this picture the other day, it really resonated with me:
Look at me there, reading the sports pages on the toilet just like every other all-American boy. “I don’t care how many hands he has! He WILL read on the john even if I have to help him at first!” said my dad. I’m starting to choke-up a little bit…
Finding that picture was perfect timing, too. Nikki, a woman I used to work with, had just sent me a message telling me about meeting a little girl who had a limb-difference and she closed it with this:
“Anyhow, just saying that meeting a little one who has only one hand and watching her maneuver around and get into trouble made me realize what you always tried to tell me: It’s all she has ever known and she has adapted to it and it’s her normal. It was a cool realization.”
I can’t tell you how good this made me feel. My contention has always been, and always will be, that limb-different kids will “figure it out,” whatever the task. In fact, the videos I make are not really instructional videos. I make my how-to videos to show people, especially parents, how I do things with one hand; not how they or their kids should do it. The actual intention of these videos is two fold: 1) To show that the task can be done, period, and 2) To encourage the viewer to figure out his/her best way.
My experience as a congenital amputee (born that way) was that I never had to adapt to anything, per se. I was born the way I was, so just like every other kid ever born, I had to figure out how to do things. I never thought, “How will I do this with one hand?” I simply wondered, “How will I do this?” Certainly, I did things differently than kids with two hands, but it wasn’t as if I learned how to do it two-handed and then had to re-learn it. I learned it one way; my way.
As usual, I’m speaking from my experience as a person who was born with one hand. I’m sure it’s different for those who lose limbs traumatically. That’s a whole different ball o’ wax. These folks really do need to adapt. They need to re-learn everything. And they will. On a recent visit to a prosthetist, Ken told me, “Amputees adapt fast. If you don’t get a prosthetic on ’em within a month or two, the chances they’ll actually stick with it are slim to none. By that time they’ll already have started to adapt to a new way of doing things.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you’re wondering, “How is my child going to ________?” just you wait.
They’ll show you.
How has your child surprised you? Or showed you a new way of doing things?