Just Different - a guest post by Daniel J. Hein



One day when Celeste and Kristof were about 7 and 5. I was taking them to Marshfield Clinic for their psych appointments. As we walked across that enormous parking lot Celeste was pointing out things all around her, almost robotically, like C-3PO, and little Kristof was in his spin mode making chirping noises, just like R2D2. As we walked I thought back to the month or so that Becky, at 7 months, was in traction in the pediatric ward at Marshfield, and all the little kids I saw there in that ward during that time. One of my just graduated students was there ... her little month old had cancer ... and teams of doctors would parade down to her room. My student was hardly more than a child herself, and was just frantic with grief and we all tried to console her. Another of my students had been in an auto accident, and since he wasn't 18, he was in a room next door. I'd go over there and see how he was getting along, all broken up. And then they brought in a little 1 year girl into Becky's room. She was all bruised and swollen, head to toe. Her Mother stayed with her for just a bit, her Dad(?) just leaned against the door frame, anxious to go, and then they both left and the nurse came in. I asked the nurse what had happened to that sweet little girl? The nurse gave me a skeptical look and said "Fell down the stairs!"
As Celeste, Kristof, and I walked along, myself thinking about the above, and watching them, it occurred to me that my kids were not sick at all, they didn't have cancer, they were not injured, they were not unloved, they were just different, and I saw their difference in a sweet and beautiful way. And that walk across the lot and into the Clinic made all the difference to me.

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