Friday, June 14, 2013

I Want Her to be Proud

There's a reason I blog more about K than I do B. Sure, B just recently got his diagnosis, but he's always been the same kid. It's not like something changed just because he received a label, and I don't blog about K just because she's had one longer.

You see, B is happy. He is content, living in B-world, talking non-stop about dinosaurs, and planets, and giant squid. His friends love and accept him. He has his moments, and his rigidity is definitely at the forefront lately, but it doesn't weigh him down. He loves going to his social group, because "his friends are there!", and his self-esteem is as strong as ever. Sure, he has Aspergers, but it hasn't, as of yet, negatively affected him. Sure, other people get annoyed, but it's not about other people (and, seriously, Ben is a fantastic kid, so if you can't get past the Aspergers and sensory issues, move along). It's about how he feels about himself as a person. And right now, he feels pretty good.

For K, it is different. I think a lot of it has to do with her being female. Girls are so much  more intricate in their social groupings, even in preschool. She was left behind long ago, and girls are much less forgiving of those who are "different". It's why most of her actual friends are boys.

She has also struggled with low self-esteem for as long as I can remember. My heart aches watching her, as she tries so hard to navigate life, and is struck down at every turn. So much more is expected of girls, and feeling like you are never "right" takes a toll.

What I want most for K is for her to be proud. Proud of her accomplishments now, and in the future. For her to focus on the great things about herself, like her love of animals, her artistic ability, her sense of humor. To know that just because she is viewed as different, doesn't mean she isn't fabulous. That normal (however that's defined) is overrated. That through her struggles, she will gain strength, and there will be those who accept her unconditionally.

I want so much for other children to be taught by the school, by their parents, that different is not less. But, I am realistic. I know there are some who just don't care. Who would rather their child be the star quarterback, or head cheerleader, than a friend to my child. It's my responsibility to make sure my kids are proud of who they are. That they feel confident in themselves, and have a firm grasp on what makes them great. That way, when someone looks at them as not good enough, it won't matter. They'll know better.

Especially K, who I know will face more challenges down the road. I don't want the harsh words of others to pave her way in life. I want her to stand tall. Be proud. Know she has worth, and that she deserves so much happiness. I want that for all our girls. Especially mine.

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