As I was waiting in a store yesterday, I sat near a gentleman with a developmental disability. Today I am reflecting upon my career in special education. After I left teaching, and experienced recovery from surgery and illness, I experienced disability of a different sort. Then, as a caregiver, with legal and practical responsibilities, I experienced yet another side of being a human being. I sat in a meeting one day at a nursing home, and I thought, “I’ve been the professional, the patient, and now the daughter.”
I’ve been needed too much, and I’ve also been invisible in our world. Many of you know exactly what I am saying!
It took me many years to tell my story. Blogging gave me the confidence, in large measure.
One thing I know: everyone has a story.
I know that the poems that touch the hearts of others are the ones that are born in these deep places.
Always more to learn about art, about craft, but for me the heart is most important.
My great-aunt, Marie Schwanke, was a pioneer in education for people with hearing challenges. There were children in my neighborhood with special needs. I remember the passing of a child too at a young age. In a group, I tended to notice the person who was “different,” who was not learning in the same way, at the same pace. I always knew my calling…until I was 40. Then a new journey began, which I also cherish and thank God for every day.
So today, I looked up the website for Special Olympics Wisconsin.
The Special Olympic Athlete Oath is:
“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”