I am halfway through Jim Abbott’s new book, Imperfect; An Improbable Life. After each chapter recounts a part of his childhood, I’m taken aback by how uncomfortable he’s been throughout his life about his limb difference. Times are a little better when it comes to limb differences. Culturally, our school system is more accepting. Jordan is officially classified a “not disabled” in her school district. And I do believe that is correct. Abbott writes how he always felt out of place and didn’t fit in as he grew up in Flint, Michigan.
I instantly think about Jordan. I don’t see her shy away from anything other than learning to ride a bike with two wheels. In social settings, she’s able to move past the questions and stares better than any person I’ve met. This weekend she had two girls in a baseball field above her pelting her with questions. They weren’t being malicious, they were just curious. By the end of the conversation, the kids were all playing together and Jordan was bossing the girls around. She’s bold. She’s strong.
Then two things happened over the weekend that made me want to write this post. First, I got an email from Jordan’s Kindergarten teacher. I had sent her a note with concern about Friday’s Grandparent’s Day. When she replied, she let me know Jordan did pretty well at school. She also told me about a cool moment that had happened earlier in the week. She wrote how impressed Jordan was with her “whatever” attitude when kids ask her questions. One kid walked up to her and said, “I bet you wish you had two arms like me.” The teacher said she was ready to jump into “That’s how she was born” mode but Jordan just smiled and said:
“No. Actually it’s kinda fun like this!“
That’s so awesome.
Not long after that email, a Born Just Right friend on Facebook asked how I managed to get Jordan to like her little arm. She discovered her two-year-old hiding his little arm in public. I thought about it and I’ve never seen Jordan hide her arm. It could be because her arm is so short. But it could also be because I’ve introduced her to as many possible limb different kids since she was tiny. She has had experiences and meetings in ways that would have never happened without such a fun arm.
I keep fretting about the future and how Jordan may lose hope and confidence… but she is holding strong. I keep going deeper and deeper in Abbott’s book and I’m so thrilled to hear the perspective of a limb difference from a person with a limb difference. Since Jordan is young, I don’t feel like it’s right to ask her too many deep questions about how she feels about her limb difference when she seems So. Dang. Comfortable. I’ll ask when she’s older. For now, I think she’s feel more comfortable in her skin than Abbott did at her age. And for that I’m thankful.