Years ago I had the opportunity to work closely with a home for children with developmental disabilities, as a resident aide. What has always stuck with me is that despite the many obstacles these children had to overcome, despite their disabilities, and health issues, their hearts and spirit for life were very much intact.What brought this on your probably asking yourself, well tonight I watched 50/50 and for some reason it made me think of those wonderful children and what a gift they were in my own life.
We all remember as kids when we would see someone with a disability our parents would tell us not to stare it's rude. What is funny is as an adult I couldn’t help but stare, watch, and fall a little in love with these kids. When you look into their eyes you cannot miss the mischievous sparkle that is there. They have their own perspective, and humor on life. Anyone interacting with them for the first time would be very surprised at what some of them think is funny.
As a young expectant mother, I remember they kept me constantly on my toes.They were also a wonderful blessing of peace for me at the time because not unlike many expectant mothers I was plagued by many of the same fears for my own unborn child having possible health issues. It quite simply reaffirmed my belief that what ever happened I was ready to face it head on. I will always be glad I had the privilege of knowing those wonderful kids even though it was only for a little over a year.
Now don’t get me wrong, as teenagers many of these kids could be cranky about getting up in the morning, or even downright ornery sometimes but the positive far outweighed any negative.Children with Developmental Disabilities can have issues that continually put their lives at risk, and whether they understand what that means they don't waste time dwelling on the negative. For the most part they had an unconditional joy for life something many of us overlook or forget.
In my own life years later Michael became apart of our extended family when my brother married. Michael has downs syndrome yet his offbeat comments and wonderful zest for life keep us all smiling and laughing. He is a wonderful part of all of our lives, and often at many family functions, where not surprisingly he sometimes has more fun then we do. I am truly thankful we all have the opportunity to know him as a person and member of our family.
50/50 was about the main characters odds of surviving cancer, but really every time we wake up and get out of bed or go to sleep isn’t there a 50/50 chance something could happen? When we get in a car to drive to work its a crap shoot, so why waste the time we have. Why do so many of us drive ourselves into the ground rather then live the life we have to the fullest. Why not savor every single moment we are here, finding the joy in life as these special individuals do daily.
I wouldn’t have had the courage to take on some of the more dangerous jobs I did had it not been for the example of those wonderful children and their unspoken message. Life is to be lived, each moment each day with joy and acceptance.