This past week, my family and I traveled to Baltimore, MD, for the 2009 Care Net Conference. In their own words, Care Net and their network of more than 1,100 pregnancy centers offer hope to women facing unplanned pregnancies by providing practical help and emotional support. I attended the conference as an exhibitor to talk to various people about my story and pro-life speaking opportunities. The conference was wonderful and not only did I get to meet so many people, but those new people made me feel as if I were already part of the Care Net family.
While the conference was great, my favorite part of the trip was the couple of days after the conference when my daughter, Hannah, and wife, Joni, and I got to play in Baltimore. At one point during those two days, my wife told Hannah to “hold daddy’s hand while we walk” because Joni’s hands were full and we were in a crowded area. Now, before you think my wife was being insensitive, in our family, we exchange the words “foot” and “hand” all of the time when referring to me as my feet serve as my hands. We’ve never gotten hung up on word choices.
What amazed me, though, is that our 18-month daughter had already picked up on this, and when instructed, she walked right over to me and grabbed my foot. We came together in that pose many times throughout the trip, and I’m sure we will many times to come. What is so inspiring and amazing to me is Hannah’s acceptance of what is “normal” in our family. She doesn’t know any differently, so she treats me with full acceptance and love unlike the world around me that often treats me as handicapped before they get to know me. Hannah’s attitude shows what we all could be like if we simply treated others with respect and love without judging others based on looks.
I love my girl just as much as any other father loves his child, and my daughter loves me with no regard to how I look. That is amazing.
What a beautiful story. Who are we to define “normal”, anyway? Your daughter has a beautiful heart already and will no doubt grow up to
be a very caring and accepting woman.