Friday, February 15, 2013

Letter to Jude

Dear Jude,
Today you have needed me more than usual. Not just me really but rather you have need human arms. I saw it when you cried out as I prepared lunch for your siblings, and you fell asleep in your brother's arms. Sometimes you are able to sleep with out those arms but today you needed us. As I hold you even now, and you look up at me with those eyes, already filled with recognition that I am the one who protects you, I find myself over come with how much I need you too. 

You see, my lovely girl, we are two sides of the same coin. I feel this for all of my children. It as if you are all so imprinted upon my heart that to not have you would be a chasm. I did not understand this when I had children. I knew that the little babies would depend upon me but not how much I would depend upon them. And you Jude might possibly need me more, or at least longer than the others. I am glad that you have come now when I understand the nature of healthy mutual dependence. This is not something I always valued.

As I grow older, Jude, I have begun to realize that we infantilize those who need others. We do not value the beautiful inter connectivity of people needing and helping each other in that need. We want people to pull themselves up by their boot straps, to make their own way in the world. We after all see ourselves as being above that kind of need. Because we see our world this way it is easy to be blinded to the ways in which we actually prevent some people from making it. We blame the poor for being poor like it's a moral failing after all they are "dependent" upon the government. And because we value independence and individuality we often fight for our own interests instead of those of the whole community. We see this in the fight against gun control, the push to cut social programs, and in the way we view the "disabled."

It is only in the independent individual that we grant the quality of individual. A disabled person is seen as a dependent on someone who is deemed "whole." They are often seen as their disability as if their dependence washes them of personality or humanness. When I tell people that you have Down syndrome, they give me pitying looks and say things like "She'll have to be with you forever." And I have started to answer "I wish but I suspect like my other children she will leave and take a piece of my heart with her" If only you were to be this baby forever but you will not be this infantilized other people imagine of the disabled (especially it seems of the cognitively disabled [I hate these terms, I fumble for the right words, have patience with me]). They forget that you will grow up and have adult desires. That you will exert that push to define yourself against me just as I did with my mother. 

But they also forget that we are dependent up on one another. We as humans are always together forever. Christ reminds his disciples of this when he tells them that they will always have the poor with them. And aren't we all the poor? The wretched one earth? All of us need all of us. We can pretend that our lives do not touch those around us and those far from us but it is pretend. What we buy, what we believe, what we do, profoundly effects other humans. We are not alone.

Jude, I hope, you will always be my heart as are your siblings. We need you as you need us. You are now a piece of our world that we will set forth like a butterfly. But you are a butterfly that will always tie back to your home which is not a physical place. Instead it is a people.

2 comments:

Sherryl said...

With every paragraph, no, every sentence I shouted a mental "YES!" I agree with and am enlightened by your clear and beautifully expressed thoughts. Thank you, Ginger, for sharing Jude with us and thank you, Jude, for sharing your brilliant Mama with us!

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