I am feeling discouraged, disappointed, and disgraced which is the complete opposite of how I thought I’d be feeling this afternoon.
All last week Marley was disappointed because we told her she wasn’t going to be able to participate in her school’s Fun Run on Friday. The run was postponed to today due to rain. Once we learned that it had been moved, we signed her up and in less than 24 hours, Marley raised about $25/lap in pledges from family and friends. Her goal was to run 20 laps. She ended up running 15.
As I’m sitting here typing, my stomach is tide in knots, and tears are flowing. Marley wasn’t allowed to fully participate like her sighted peers in the run. The entire time she was out there, there was someone holding her hand. She even had to stand on the sidelines for a brief stand of the run watching the other students running past her. When she did get to run, she had to hold onto another child’s hand the entire time.
This is a girl who sprints around the neighborhood while her mommy jogs. This is a girl who can run two miles without stopping. This is a girl who runs into any and all situations without fear, without doubt, and without inhibitions.
What the fuck! What is going on while I’m not there? Is her hand constantly being held? Is she coddled? Is she held back from reaching her true potential because of low expectations, because of fear, because of liability?
On our way home I asked her how she felt about the run. Without any enthusiasm she replied, “It was ok.” Digging deeper, I asked her how it felt to run, and how it felt when she had to run holding her classmates hand.
Marley’s answer, “I love running because I feel free, like I can fly. When I was holding someone’s hand I couldn’t move my arms like this, so I couldn’t fly.”
Those powerful words came directly from a five year old’s heart.
Mommy wants you to know that you can spread those wings and fly. Don’t let anyone ever tell you you’re not good enough, smart enough, fast enough, strong enough, or pretty enough.
Your Biggest Fan, Mommy