God’s Special Children
By Julia Fernandes
March 24, 2012
Few weeks back I was travelling in a train, homeward bound, on a hot sultry day. Having got a window seat, I was happy that I would be able to catch up on some sleep. Suddenly, my co-passenger requested me to seat a small girl near the window. As I turned to look at that girl, I realised she was specially challenged and needed assistance even to sit.
She was a 7-year old girl wearing bi-focal lens. Throughout the one and half hour journey she kept looking outside listlessly. She looked at me, other passengers without any emotion whatsoever on her face. I tried making some small talk with her, but I could not get her attention. I removed my craft paper and made a paper bird, but she seemed totally disinterested.
She kept looking at her outstretched palms as if admiring her fingers. The mother later revealed to me that she cannot catch things with her hand. What was registering in her mind, nobody really knows. When I touched her cheek, in a dispassionate tone, she turned around and looking in the air she asked me in the local language(Marathi), “Why you touched me?”
I was quite shocked to realise that this little girl could not identify or recognise any gesture or form of affection or love. The mother then caught her hand and made her touch my cheek, but it was of no use. She was totally indifferent to everything around her.
In another related incident, last Sunday, I was attending mass (service) in my building. Since, the house was packed, I decided to sit outside. I noticed a young girl holding her son and trying her best to put him to sleep. She did not sit even for a minute. For more than an hour she was standing trying to put her son to sleep.
When I gestured her to sit, she told me that her kid has a problem. Though he was one and a half years old he looked just 9 or 10 months old. He had not slept well, so he was cranky. The moment she would sit he would start crying. It was clear that he needed special attention.
Both the women I met did not exactly even know what were the medical conditions afflicting their kids. All they knew were that their kids were not normal like other kids. For me, these kids are God’s special children, for they push us beyond the human limits of love and patience.
Parents of normal children can understand and fulfil the needs of their kids. But how hard would it be to understand the needs and wants of a specially challenged child?
This is for all parents. The next time you are tempted to push your child to excel in sports or studies, just remember that there are some parents for whom the ability of their child to just hold things or get some quality sleep in itself is a big achievement!