Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's Not Easy Being Green...

Learning to appreciate your differences is never easy, at any age. It can be said with certainity that some people never learn to value what makes them different from others. They become the "yes men" of the world. Always terrified to let people get too close for fear that others will see what makes them unique and special. Blending in and just existing is always easier than standing up and being seen for who and what you are. Not very interesting to be around, but much easier. As a parent, I feel it is my job to help my children appreciate their quirks and essentricities. It's what sets them apart.

Last week I watched as Bella played in the wet sand with her implants off. My heart broke a little as I watched her play. Why? Because she is learning that sometimes your differences set you apart from others, literally. Now for the backstory.

Bella was at girl scout camp in the water, swimming and playing with the other girls in her group. She didn't have the implant/water set up we use for swim team because it is a hassle to put together and as her unit leader I couldn't spare the time to get it all set. Besides swimming at camp was only 20 minutes so I thought it would be fine. Anyway, one of the teenage helpers for our group decided to play a game with the girls in the water. She tried to tell Bella the directions, but it was tough since Bella couldn't hear. Finally, Bella said, "I can't hear you without my implants." That comment in itself was pretty telling. Usually Bella fakes her way through conversations if she doesn't have her implants on. She is a great lip reader, but even so things get missed. I guess learning how to play a game and lipreading all the directions was a bit too difficult. So the teenage helper brought Bella back to play by the sand since she couldn't hear the directions for the game. The game the group finally decided to play was "Marco Polo." You know, the one where one person has their eyes closed and yells "Marco" and listens for the others to say "Polo" so they can tag someone else it? Well, that is definately limiting if you are deaf.

After it all happened, I spoke a little with her about how sometimes it is hard to be different and how some people's differences show more than others, but we all have them. I also told her it takes a lot of strength and courage to own your differences. I'm sure it is a conversation we will continue having, now that she is getting older and more self aware.

The rest of girl scout camp went great! She made lots of new friends, played games, did crafts, and ate yummy snacks. The theme this year was "Reality Twin Cities" so all of the activities were based on reality shows like Biggest Loser, Minute to Win It, Project Runway, etc. The highlights for Bella were the Cake Boss craft/snack where a team of 4 girls got to design a cake and then they got to eat the whole thing themselves. Most didn't finish theirs, but the idea of eating a whole cake was appealing to all the girls. Bella also liked climbing the rock climbing wall and of course singing all the songs. Paddling a canoe was also a big hit. I did let her keep her implants on while she was in the canoe, but did silently pray that it did not tip over.

We missed the last day due to puppy pick up. Details to follow...

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