Learning to see

One of the two Girl Scout troops I was part of growing up included a girl with a growth impairment. I remember being fascinated and a little nervous around her. She was in a small chair her mother carried, and we were warned early on that she was physically fragile. We needed to be careful because her bones broke easily. I wish so badly that I could remember her name because the brief time we were part of the same troop influenced me in profound ways.

At first I kept my distance, just sure that I would be the one who would accidentally trip and fall on her or knock her over somehow. Well, she noticed and would call me over to talk to her or sit next to her.

It was an odd feeling to be so much larger yet feel so small, so young next her, but as I got to know her, it made sense. She was in fact older than me and had dealt with this awkward situation many times. Her patience, openness, and kindness in approaching my confusion held two amazing lesson for me. She taught me how to trust myself with those whose strength is mostly internal, who need greater physical care. And she taught me how to see, really see beyond her body and connect with her as a person. Knowing her changed my life.

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