Today is the International Day of Acceptance.
Every single day should be a day where our hearts and our minds are fully open and accepting of anyone we may come across.
Every single day should be viewed as a day where we get to make a choice to allienate or to include, and our choice should always be the latter.
Every single day should be the day that we choose acceptance.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
Unfortunately, people with different abilities are often viewed as only disabled. Emphasis on the dis, and not so much on the abled.
They are often referred to as “living disabled”. As if that is the only thing that defines them, the only thing that could potentially be of any importance in their version of living.
The message behind the International Day of Acceptance is that, you are not living disabled, you are living.
My daughter turned two years old last week. She is officially smack dab in the middle of toddlerhood.
She does not crawl, or walk, or even sit up unassisted. Her head control and her trunk control are lacking. She eats very little orally and is fed through a tube. She doesn’t speak or get into mischief.
But she doesn’t know any different.
She is learning to roll and getting stronger every day. She is opinionated, and funny, and so so sweet. She loves popsicles and the movie Frozen. She thinks her older brother is hilarious and loves country music.
She is not living disabled, she is living.
She is living the only life she has ever known in the only manner she knows how to live.
And she deserves acceptance.
And I don’t just mean she deserves to not be stared at, or made fun of, or ignored all together.
Now of course she deserves all of those things, but she also deserves full unfiltered acceptance.
All the way down to your core, she deserves for you to view her as a whole entire person.
And in no way am I discrediting my daughters diagnosis, or downplaying her handicaps, or glossing over the difficulties she faces.
I am simply advocating and reminding everyone that those things do not make her less.
She is the light in the room and she is everything that is pure and good in this world, and viewing her as anything other than that is doing her a huge injustice.
People with disabilities and handicapps are not living disabled, they are simply living.
Let this be a reminder to all of us, that everyone deserves acceptance.
The mama of a toddler.