Not Broken....

I wanted to share 3 stories that we wrote about our kids a few years ago. This is the first one, and it brought tears to my eyes, as Muriwai is a lot more confident these days and takes pride in her limb difference. Also it made me so proud when I reflected on the confidence and courage Cyrus had in this particular instance. As the weather gets warmer, Muriwai's "special arm" attracts a lot of attention and Cy and WaiWai do so well when all the big kids from the neighborhood want to touch, poke, prod and relentlessly question "why?".  Some adults react this way too!
  this was actually written by my wife: Beth Nicholls. She wrote it in August 2008. Muriwai was 3 at the time and Cyrus was 5.

I guess we have been in retreat for a few days. Sometimes if I find myself tired or preoccupied I realize that on these days I stick closer to home. At home Muriwai’s limb difference is typical, few people STARE. Few people even see the small smiley face dimple and slash that grins out from the end of her left arm.

By nature I am forgetful and today we ventured out into the confusing tangle of entertainment and absurdity and raw humanity that is our neighborhood. Sticky rice and peanut sauce sounded like a cheap pseudo ethnic experience for my children. We headed out into the noise to get carbed up. While eating Muriwai was stared at by a little girl whose curiosity went unnoticed by her mother for quite a while. Wake up, lady, oh and by the way, maybe you shouldn’t say s**t 18 times in front of small children. When the little girl could not conceal her discovery any longer she ran to her mom. And, of course, I strained to listen…what I heard was a calm and kind explanation about difference and a comparison to Nemo and his little fin. Very cool, and very unexpected. The young mother and I exchanged smiles as she strolled out and I waved to the little girl. Muriwai simply stared back at her and didn’t want to discuss the curiosity afterwards, opting to draw on her placemat and heavily salt my food.

Our son, Cyrus, had picked up on the observation of this little girl when she had been hovering around our table for extended periods of time. And he began recounting some of our playground experiences. “Remember the time that big boy said, ‘She has a broke arm and the other big boy said, ‘No, it is not broke.’” I did remember. If I counted correctly their were about 5 boys and 3 girls and it was a tiring day at the playground. That was the day I told Cyrus that he can speak up for his sister. He can look into their eyes and say, “My sister has a special arm. She was born that way, and she will be able to do anything you can do.”

I could safely say both my kids are not extremely extroverted so I pray they would both learn to have the confidence and courage to speak the truth to unknown kids who were nearly always older.

As we headed home today a small group of kids were on the sidewalk and we said hi to them. As if she had heard our earlier discussion little girl #2 said, “She’s got a broken arm. She’s got a broken arm.” Pointing her finger into the stroller, her little brother was racing up for a look. And Cyrus spoke up and said, “It is not a broken arm it’s a special arm.” I sent the kids back to their dad who hadn’t noticed they had run halfway down the block, I kissed Cyrus for his bravery and asked Muriwai if the words the little girl had said bothered her. She didn’t answer and I’m certain I know what the answer was. She looked at me and gripped her left arm in her right hand so hard it turned red and she said, “Will I get a hand for later?” and I explained to her that we could get a pretend hand that she could take on and off if she wanted one. And she pulled angrily at her arm and said, “But I can’t get it to come out, mama. I can’t get it out!” And that about killed me and then she said, “Is it broken?” and I looked into her stunning brown eyes and I said firmly, “No, it’s not broken, it’s beautiful.” And an enormous smile broke over her face and she hugged me hard and I thanked God for this memorable moment outside of the Family Dollar.
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