Recently, my daughter was made fun of at school and began to feel awkward having a water bottle with her in class. “Dad, when will I be able to stop drinking water during class? It’s bad enough I fart, but I feel them all looking at me when I drink.” The perils of second grade can be hell on emotional well being.
I told her to remember she is a miracle. She has lived through more than most of them ever will. She needs to remember she has lived through 4 or 5 (depending on how some exploration is counted) heart surgeries to deal with her pulmonary atresia, and she had a stroke. She has been sick enough to die multiple times. She has the scars to prove her courage and toughness. What’s more, she has bowels which aren’t moving food like they should. So she has a choice, either take the chance given to her by multiple miracles and drink the water or let the stupid things thought by 2nd graders rob her of the life she is lucky enough to live. I told her she is given a chance so many would love to have, but it’s her resilience which will make the rest of us look to her for inspiration. Then I had to explain “resilience.”
The irony is I ask her to be tougher than I am all the time. I tell her she and her siblings are my miracle, keeping me alive. We called the school to make sure the teacher is aware what is going on and how dangerous it would be for somebody with her heart condition to become dehydrated. We are debating as she enters a new school after our move next fall whether to schedule a class with her new school to explain disabilities and hers in particular.
It is hard to mention people’s lack of ability to see what others go through without pictures of K. Of course I find it hard to mention “not seeing” without pictures of her. There is hard to define justice in the joy I take from “looking” at her looking at the world around her. I wonder what and how much she sees. Then I marvel at the speed she chooses to live with reckless abandon.
On a somewhat related but funny vein, O’s class must have had somebody mention Nazis. He said he was thinking about them again when he heard about them in the Sound of Music. Then on Saturday morning, he said, “Dad, I think I know why they were called ‘Nazi.’ I think they could not see the goodness in different people.” I told him he can be very insightful at times, and I was glad for a morning of the thoughtful O (leaving out the “instead of the grumpy O who usually graces us in the morning”).