Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Anna's Bad Day at School

I asked my 3 year old daughter how her day at preschool was and her beautiful eyes started to well up with big, fat tears. "I had a BAD day!" she said.

"Why sweetie?"

"Sheri said that Joshie is weird and yucky!" My heart dropped. Ok, here we go. We're officially beginning the process of the girls dealing with how other people see and respond to their brother. Josh sometimes comes with me (if he misses his bus) when I drop her off at her school since his school is nearby. If he comes into the classroom as I sign Anna in, he usually wanders around walking in circles, flapping his hands and making his usual humming noises. We are immune to this and it's all good to us as long as he is not crying or screaming. Sheri is a cherubic blonde haired, blue eyed, gorgeous little child with lots of confidence and opinions. Her mom has been initiating for her to have a play date with Anna.

"Oh, sweetie. Why do you think she said that?" I asked.

Anna responded with the saddest face you've ever seen, "Sheri said that Josh makes funny noises and he flaps his hands."

Hearing this completely breaks my heart but I try to be present and help her to process her experience.

"Anna, what did you say to her?"

"I told her that was not very nice because he's my brother and he's very special to me!"

I give her a big hug and tell her that I was so sorry. I try my best to interpret that it's sometimes hard and confusing for people to understand people with special needs. As I am comforting my little girl, I realize that by being a part of our family, she's on a special journey of being an interpreter about the special needs world to the typically developing world. Not only was she born into the burden/ opportunity of being a bridge between the white and Asian worlds, and the churchy and unchurchy world, but between the disabled and typical communities as well. Anna will be a bridge person and she will have the perspective, gifts, joys, sufferings and frustrations of being a bridge person. I know this well.

I hope that this builds and strengthens her soul and makes her a strong and hopeful person. I hope that she can speak up for the rest of her life just as she spoke up today. I hope that she will let herself be comforted when she feels the hurt of other people's ignorance.

I pull out of these deep thoughts and ask her, "Does that mean that you don't want to have a play date with Sheri anymore?" Her response, "Oh, no. I still want to have a play date with her." God bless her little resilient and forgiving heart. I hope I can be more like that when I experience mean people.


  1. What a great answer she gave. What an articulate and compassionate 3 year old she is. May she grow to be firmly yoked to Jesus, and may he make her calling as a bridge person an "easy and light" yoke. And a joy-filled one. xoxo.

  2. Even though Anna is your youngest, I always thought of her as more like me, a middle-child. Maybe that is because of being a bridge person. I am glad she remembered her pain long enough to tell you and share it with you so you and the fam can be a partner with her even at this young age. God bless Anna.

  3. So proud of Anna! I love that girl! I love her compassion and advocacy for her precious brother. Brought tears to my eyes to read this. I love you guys so much. And you are an awesome mom, Susan!!