Is what I was thinking as I took a walk with Reagan in our neighborhood and met a new neighbor. Other than the fact that she seemed around my same age and had a daughter just two months younger than Reagan, I thought, “well…that’s where the similarities end.”
Her daughter had blonde curly hair like Reagan, but she was walking and running up and down their driveway, playing some game that involved colorful looking cups on the driveway. Things like this are so painful for me…that’s what Reagan would have been doing.
“Say hi…” the mom prompted her daughter.
And her daughter said hi and waved and walked right up to Reagan. Do you know how much is required to wave? It’s not as easy as you think, so if you or your little one can wave, be thankful. Reagan seemed a little put off by the girls invasion into her stroller space so I tried to maneuver it back and forth.
We chit chatted and the mom said, maybe we could have a play date sometime. Meanwhile in my mind I’m thinking, “oh yeah right.” And, “when is the appropriate time to clue this new neighbor into Reagan’s metabolic condition and the checklist my friends and I go through when we get together for play dates. When do I let her know that Reagan lost all of her milestones earlier this year, and how I’m kind of freaking out that her daughter is touching Reagan’s hand…is she sick?” The thoughts were whirling around in my head. So I kind of vomited on her in a short 30 second spiel.
Me: “Reagan’s not quite walking yet.”
Her: “Oh, our daughter just loves to be near people and will walk up to anyone.”
Me: “That’s sweet…we had a bit of a medical thing in April (a medical thing, really Anne-Marie)…
Her: “I’m sorry…”
Me: “Yeah, she lost all of her milestones so we’re working to get them all back. She’s trying to walk in her little walker, when we left the hospital she couldn’t hold her head up, so we’ve come a long way.”
Her: “Well she can do it…I’m sure she’s working hard.”
That was basically our conversation in a nutshell. Meeting new people is hard. We’ve had all of our friends and family in our lives for years…sigh. New people…what do I do when I meet new people? And neighbors at that. Neighbors see a side of you that most don’t. At least that’s true for me since I walk our dog in the most ridiculous pajama outfits complete with bed head, boots and no makeup. I keep it real in our little circle.
Even though the last thing this new neighbor said was encouraging…she doesn’t know what we’ve had to endure. Yeah, I think Reagan will get her skills back, but they don’t come at the snap of a finger.
I wish that I didn’t have to do a spiel…maybe I don’t. Maybe I shouldn’t have. But Reagan is different. So I’m in this place of “what do I say or not say…what does this person need to know?” If Reagan was in a walker, the conversation would be more open to it, but in a stroller…was it necessary? I’m not ashamed of my daughter…I’m just talking about her like you’d be talking about your child. My conversations are just different. While you play stacking cups in your driveway, we play in therapy three times a week so that, one day…maybe Reagan can stack cups on the driveway, or play with sidewalk chalk.
As I finished our walk and got home to do a few things…I kept thinking that maybe we do have more in common than I wanted to believe. I met this lady and her daughter for less than five minutes. I don’t know her…but we met for a reason. And while I need to give room for my feelings to breathe…I won’t be satisfied with the quick judgements in my head. So instead of my quick judgements maybe we will have a play date in the future, and we’ll keep widening our circle and widening the people who know Reagan, pray for Reagan and can be clued into the miracles that are happening. I know that’s the point…I know we’re supposed to shine a light on Reagan and what God is doing in her life. Reagan’s life is part of our ministry and her life’s ministry started super early. God’s using her in ways beyond our knowledge.