Health care is a basic human right, not a privilege. For some reason, we’ve allowed ourselves as Americans to be fooled into accepting that one must be blessed with “means” to actuate appropriate health care. As a nation we have failed to realize that our health care system is a barometer of our society’s value for human life.


Monday, September 17, 2007

On the Brevity of Things

I am awakened not suddenly but gradually by the pitter-patter tippy-toeing of three year old feet. I hear the soft padding of her toes, scissoring up and down the hall. She flits back and forth quickly and unevenly, tippy-tioes crossing one toe over the other. I turn over in bed, call out to the hall: "Gracie do you have to go potty?"

The pitter-patter stops. Resumes. A simpering yes bounces back from the hall, her whine and impatience reflected in her voice amdist the uneven fluttering of her footfalls.

"Well honey, just go potty!"

The pitter-patter hesitates. "Okay!" bounds back from the hall, followed by a flurry of pitter-patter followed by the squeak of the bathroom door.

This happened so many times. Bob and I used to giggle about it in the morning, giggle about the flurry of her activity late at night and the inability to register why she was prancing about so.

I imagine now, those times, when I hear her uneven foot-fall, and imagine I can see her gait in the soft sounds her toes make as they scamper about. Pitter-Patter, scissoring feet.

Sometimes the brevity of the words I deal with everyday amazes me. I wonder, in my darkest moments, how everything went so wrong. Autism, asthma, diabetes, and now cerebral palsy. They are all such heavy words, carrying with them so many loaded consequences and certain fears. The weight of these words can bury me, can bury my soul, my heart, my happiness.

I've spoken often on this blog about the importance of perspective. I live in an income-controlled community, also known as lower income housing. I live among adults who are disabled, and families that are literally disabled (parents who are disabled who have children who are disabled). I witness so much poverty and I wonder at it. I do not feel poor. Most of the families in my neighborhood are very poor. I ended up here because I can not afford a market-rate 3-bedroom townhome (1100-1200/month). Most other families move here because this is family housing that accepts section 8 vouchers. I love my home. I feel so blessed by the space we have now compared to our old 2-bedroom. We are even more blessed by the off-street courtyard between the buildings that is a huge area for all the neighborhood kids to play. I am astounded often that people who live in my neighborhood hate it. They hate the iffy neighbors, they hate the surrounding poverty, their time-saving dishwashers. This perplexes me. This home is such a nice step up from our old place. I realize how much happiness I have due to my perspective. I am choosing to love my home, my home in Saint Cloud. There are things I dislike about this area, but there are many more I love.

This too can be said about the brevity of those words I mentioned previously. The weight that is held by those words may also be diminished. I am given, every day and every moment, an opportunity to choose to not be buried, to choose to not be weighed down by the path that has been given to my family. And in many ways we are blessed. In many ways, depending on the day, my children's diagnoses are invisible, behind closed doors. They function, for the most part, like every other child. I am blessed with their health, and their joy, and their uniqueness. We are blessed as a family with challenges, just as we are blessed with day-after giggles as we discuss the pitter-patter footfalls of children from the night before.

Even now, I can hear the scissoring, pitter-patter of my little girl set high on her tippy-toes at 3 am. The fluttering of her feet could just as easily be the flapping of angel's wings.


Vivian said...

Sarah, Thank you for posting this. I really needed to hear it. Lately I am having trouble getting my feet under me to find a better perspective. You have reminded me to make it a priority.

Unknown said...

Lovely post, Sarah. I have recently come to really enjoy reading your blog, in large part, because of your perspective. You seem to have a poet's soul and a beautiful outlook on things. That is no small feat.