Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Since my "cry-for-help" post, I've really become connected with the dwarfism community. I quickly learned that October is Dwarfism Awareness Month. I had no idea...none at all. And, if I'm being completely honest, it totally caught me off-guard. Because I've never even considered dwarfism awareness.

You see, I've been wrapped up in Autism Awareness.  Anderson and his developmental/social issues have, quite frankly, taken precedence over Amelia's physical issues. Learning how to navigate his need for structure and routine, his social inadequacies, the public's understanding of him, has just engulfed the part of my mind devoted to creating awareness. And then, I joined a Facebook group for parents of children with dwarfism, and I realized that dwarfism awareness is equally important.  Children with dwarfism face both physical and emotional challenges that deserve public attention and support. Anderson's issues may seem more pressing because his issues exist now, but Amelia's are just as significant, and will become even more so in the future.

If we're talking about awareness in terms of awareness days and months, then really I need to support many more. Infertility Awareness, Prematurity Awareness, Breast Cancer Awareness...Cancer Awareness in general...the list goes on and on. Because--and I'm not complaining here or looking for attention but just stating a fact--my life has been deeply, life-changingly affected by all of those things. Equally affected. Affected by those just as much as autism and dwarfism have affected me.

In a dream world, I would equally promote each awareness month. I would fund-raise and post facts on Facebook and the internet and spread awareness at work and preschool and create/wear clothing spreading the message. But in reality, I don't have time for those things. I don't have time, and I don't have the mental strength it would take to dwell on each affecting issue for each of those months.  As bad as it may be to admit this, there are times that I don't like to think about autism.  I don't like to think about cancer, or infertility, or dwarfism. Sometimes, I just like to BE. I like to just be part of a family with two kids. I like to just be a teacher, with two preschoolers and a hardworking husband, who comes home at night, does the routines, and watches a little TV before bed. You know...a regular person.

So, we support awareness a little differently around here.  We support awareness by teaching our children, our families and friends about kindness. About being accepting of differences.  About treating every living thing with dignity and respect. About recognizing that all people are capable of great things, regardless of their size or shape or education or income or color or family situation. We talk about how to show love, how to demonstrate courtesy, and how to navigate life in a society where everyone--EVERYONE--is different.

Because really...if everyone had a strong foundation in all of those things, would we really need awareness months?

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