Many people in my life question my relationship with Bill. Why I decide to stick with him when life has those WTF moments on his end? Why I don’t chose to leave the unspoken world of the developmentally delayed behind and join Tinder or something in search of a soulmate closer to my abilities?
It’s simple really. It’s a fact of acceptance, patience, and taking that extra minute or two to reflect on the situation. I always seen the good in people, and always had this uncanny sense of seeing a person beyond their disability or flaws. It’s not that hard, actually.
Patience is a virtue– He may not learn as quick as others and simple tasks we take for granted like dressing or making informed decisions can seem like a Herculean task. You can’t always have life as go,go,go, and that is perfectly OK. Sometimes moments of being patient can be moments where great lessons are learned and the simple joys in life can be celebrated.
Take time to listen…Seruously– Some of my great learning moments with Bill were taught in what most people would dismiss as nonsene banter. He likes to tell stories that resemble the crazy tall tales my Grampy tells, only with Power Rangers in place of the Bigfoot Gramps shot in Canada. The world sees it as childish stories, but I hear more than imagination gone wild. Sometimes an old memory or a great moment that reflects in the real world gets shared, along with great lessons in acceptance and self advocacy. Listen up, he has a lot to say.
Accept the good, the bad, and the ugly side of disability– The world as a developmentally delayed person is far from the sunshine and lolipops some stories that float around the internet potray. For every “Down Syndrome Homecoming Queen” comes someone who never grasped the concept of Stranger Danger and has been hurt so much, that he often keeps himself locked in his apartment playing the PlayStation 4. For every “Autistic Waterboy Becomes Varsity Football Star” there is someone who has lost his ability to walk on crutches as well as the simple ability to get out of bed without the aid of a hospital cot. For every great place to go on a date, a majority don’t have ample handicap accessibility, resulting in a stretched out adventure and potential injury. Disabilty can be an ugly thing, but only those with eyes wide open can see the beauty in it all. To take that bad and somehow make it good, whether it be a special bonding moment, like the time we got lost in the back parts of the mall in search of an elevator to the movie theater and found ourselves in the roof instead. Or a time where lessons in love and acceptance are learned, like a little boy asking questions about his wheelchair in the Lego Store. There is always a good side to even the most uncomfortable moments.
Take time to find the beauty in one’s body, however “Broken” the world may see it as- Contrary to popular belief, that metallic thing with wheels isn’t part of his anatomy, there really is a person in there. A person who has enough upper arm strength to put the Hulk to shame, or at least enough to pick me up, even though I’m a fairly fluffy person. His spine may curve, his legs are paper thin, and his features may not be ideal in this world where beauty is defined by the Kardashians amd Johnny Depp, but there really is a great looking man who takes pride in himself anyway. That’s true beauty enough. To see yourself in the mirror each day and smile back is a task many don’t do each day, yet somehow with the cards he was dealt with, he does. And that attitdue is what makes me love him more and more each day.
Love with no regrets– Don’t worry about the small trivial stuff people will throw at you. Love is about celebrating one another, no matter what the world says. He may not be that CEO momma always wanted you to have, nor will be be able to physically sweep you off your feet. But he sure will take your breath away with his generosity, love, and ultimate respect of you, just the way you see him. A body and a brain doesn’t make a person who they are. It’s their soul, spirit, and strength that conquers all who challenge it. It’s the way they inspire others to love and embrace themselves and others who matter most in their lives. It’s that smile that can break the walls of doubt down and open up the minds of others. It’s taking a chance when others wouldn’t. It’s loving one another for who they are, no regrets, no strings attached.
Love doesn’t discriminate. And neither should you. Embrace one another, you’ll never know where the journey will take you. Have an open heart as well as an open mind. Find the beauty within, for every person is a treasure waiting to be discovered.