Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Differences are Gifts from God

The weekly school newsletter arrived. Our chaplain described the services planned for this Holy Week before Easter. The Maundy Thursday service was to include the eighth graders washing the feet of the younger children who wished to participate.

I sent this email to the chaplain and Spencer's teacher:

April 14, 2011
Hi Mother J* and AB*,
I was reading through the Holy Week services that are planned for next week. What wonderful things you have planned for the kids, Mother J!
I just wanted to give you both a quick note about Spencer. He was born with fused bones in his feet and webbed toes. It doesn't affect his mobility at all, and we rarely think of or notice it at our house - he even wears flip flops with pride. But, it does make his feet look different. The couple of times in his life he's ever even mentioned it, we just tell him his feet are that way because that's exactly how God wanted them to be made and we think they're even better than everybody else's feet because they're 100% unique.
Shawn and I wish he could go through his whole life as confident and unconcerned about his feet as he is today. But, we're not naive enough to believe that being "different" doesn't get to be an issue the older kids get; or that another child's reaction to his feet won't hurt him someday.
So, just in case he chooses to participate in the feet washing during the Maundy Thursday service, I felt better making you both aware. Thanks for listening to this overly sensitive mom. :) -ali

Spencer's teacher and I received this response:

Dear Ali, Thank you for this information. I agree that being given special gifts by God is a blessing, but I also know that children can be unaware of how hurtful they can be if someone’s blessing is different from theirs. A, I can easily take Spencer to a station for foot washing where the older child is sensitive and understanding. I will be “floating“ that morning and will be aware of when and if Spencer gets up to have his feet washed. I will stand in your section of the nave until your children have had their feet washed.
Ali, thank you for contacting us. You’re a precious Mama.
Much love,

Touched? Wouldn't even begin to describe it. When I sent her a thanks, I told her I had tears in my eyes. That wasn't the truth. They were rolling down my face.

The tears?

They were partly for the frustration that we do live in a world where kids can be cruel to each other; and I can't protect my child from it; and to learn to get along in this great big ol' world, he's going to have to learn to endure the injustices of it. I will be able to do nothing more than sit on the sidelines while my heart breaks.

But, mostly? The tears were overwhelming gratitude for the reminder that there are angels that surround my children and love them when I'm not there.

*Names have been abbreviated to protect the angels. ;)


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