Posted on February 27th, 2015 by Jackie Orihill
When I was a young girl, I heard my aunt tell my mom and a table full of women how excited she was that my cousin said a word. I think the word was “juice.” My aunt gave us a play by play of how she drew it out of him. She held a cup of juice just far enough that he couldn’t reach it. Well, he must’ve been pretty thirsty so he said “juice.” I remember thinking, “What’s the big deal?”
I was maybe 6 or 7, so he might’ve been 3. My aunt seemed ecstatic and hopeful. This was a moment for her.
I didn’t realize yet that my cousin had severe disabilities that impaired his speech and development. The truth is, any time I was with him, I never heard him say a word. So the day he said “juice” was a moment of promise.
Today, I’m a mom myself and I also work here at Easter Seals. Both experiences have helped me have a better understanding of my cousin’s genetic disease. More important, I think I have a greater appreciation for the moments that moms and dads celebrate. And how much they vary. I mean, the first time my kid drew a stick person, I almost called MOMA to negotiate his first exhibition. Our son’s interest and confidence in drawing and coloring came later than many of his peers, so we celebrated that achievement — for him and for me. (MOMA, er, I mean MAMA loves a refrigerator full of pictures.)
Whether you are celebrating a child’s first steps, first words, or first drawing, at any age, I’d never again think “What’s the big deal.” In fact, I say, shout it to the skies!
We all develop differently and encounter different challenges in life, so I’ve tried to stop comparing. Let’s just celebrate our achievements and have others cheer us on. I’ve got one way you can.
I’m inviting everyone and anyone to share their life’s moments on Twitter or Instagram or even Easter Seals’ Facebook page with #LifesMoments. Your story and/or photo may be featured on our wall of #LifesMoments so we can celebrate with you and your family. And if you’re feeling shy, that’s ok. You can check out our wall of life’s moments at easterseals.com/lifes-moments and cheer others on, too.