Embracing Our Differences
I must keep reminding myself that Eden has Dwarfism. It’s been three years since her diagnosis. I’m still waiting for the word Achondroplasia to sink in. We are fully aware and accepting of Eden’s uniqueness. It is to be cherished and celebrated always. It is that with Eden being our only child, she is all that we know. How she achieves things and go about her daily routine is our new typical. We don’t notice the extra effort that she puts into everything that she does. For Eden, and for us …it’s mundane.
It is only when she must go out into the real world that we need to remind ourselves of her condition. We must be armed with guards, cautions, and answers. Achondroplasia is Eden’s condition and not her name. It is a part of who she is and something that we teach her to embrace and celebrate. However, there is so much more to this Little Diva. I can’t begin to imagine her not being exactly who she is. She is this Mini Boss who chose us …who we would choose over and over again.
I wanted to do more with Dwarfism Awareness Month for Eden. Teach her how to educate others on her condition. I don’t believe it’s ever too young to learn. I was told that children Eden’s age can’t grasp the concept of differences. I’m sure this was said out of care and their perception of reality. However, I believe that there is a necessity to reach and teach while they are young. If you can teach a child about shapes and colors, you can educate them on differences. Awareness, acceptance and inclusion should be something that we talk about to our children. Pretending that children do not notice a difference is asking them to ignore those differences as well. It is okay to acknowledge that everyone is not the same and how that should be embraced. Curiosity is natural. How we choose to deal with curiosity is everything. I prefer people to ask questions and not ignore the fact that there is a difference. I believe only then can we move on to just how much more we have in common.
A mom reached out to me today. She informed me of how her son is isolated by their family because of his Dwarfism. It broke my heart to know this. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this from many others. Each time feels like the first. We deal with chosen ignorance in this country. In other countries there are people with Dwarfism living in isolation because of a lack of knowledge. I can’t change the world, but we can make a difference by educating those around us. If you follow us, please share with those that may not know what you have learned. People with Dwarfism are people ...with names. Greet them with a hello, and if you have a question ...ask. It’s never okay to take a picture or video of anyone without their permission. It’s as easy as treating people the way you would like to be treated.