In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
— Albert Schweitzer
Dear friend of Olivia,
You won’t understand the depth of my thanks until you yourself become a mother one day, of that I am sure. But my heart is so full of thanks and love right now that I need to share it with your 9-year-old self. I hope you’ll save this and re-read it as a mother. I really do.
I know to you I’m just Olivia’s Mom, but to me you are beauty and love personified. You are so special to me and to Olivia and I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you exactly why.
After we found out that Olivia was born with Cri du Chat, I stayed up night after night worrying that Olivia would be treated cruelly by the kids at school. That was honestly one of my very biggest worries. Would she even have any friends? Would people make fun of her for being different? Every year since Kindergarten you have laid those fears completely to rest. Occasionally they pop back up again when I think about junior high and high school, but then I remember that you’ll still be with her. I know your heart won’t change; you’ll still be the same sweet girl you are right now.
Do you know what a big deal it was that Olivia was able to dance in the talent show? For the past three years, she hasn’t even been able to go the talent show. The music and cheering was too loud; the lights and the dances were overwhelming. She would freak out and cry. Do you know that she wasn’t supposed to walk or talk, let alone dance? She’s come so far. Do you know why I think she’s come so far? Because you’ve been helping her. You’ve been playing with her at recess, sitting with her at lunch, reading to her in class, playing with her at our house, inviting her to parties. She’s been learning from you.
Last year we watched some of you practice at the dress rehearsal and she asked me if she could dance too. At that point it was too late, but I knew I wanted to make it happen this year. Turns out, I didn’t have to. You did it for me. Not once did you complain that she couldn’t do the dance exactly right or that she got in your way. Not once did you want her to not dance. You even included the ring-around-the-rosie part just for her. You made sure she was in the right spot. You grabbed her hand and helped her. Most 9-year-old girls wouldn’t do that. You are very special. I hope you know that.
My heart is so full right now. Full of pride for Olivia and how far she’s come. Full of pride for you and the wonderful girl you are already at the tender age of 9. Full of love for her and for you. Full of hope for what the future may hold for my little girl who is loved by so many. Full of happiness that she was part of something so beautiful.
To you it may have just been a dance in a talent show; to me it was a turning point. My little girl not only was able to sit with her friends and dance with them in front of a crowd, but she was part of a group of friends. I wasn’t sure that would ever happen for her. I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am for you. To know that you love my Olivia for who she is makes me the happiest Mom in the world.
If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.
— Meister Eckhardt
I hope it’s enough.