Jan 17, 2011

I have a dream too

Most of you know I live in Florida.  But probably very few know that I was born in Mississippi.  My parents were both born and raised 100 miles from each other in Mississippi.

In 1963 (6 years before I was born), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a famous speech.  Below are just a few lines of it.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

As I heard that today, I was particularly struck by the numerous references to Mississippi.  And yet just under 50 years later, this Mississippi raised girl has the family I have.  Not only do we sit at the table of brotherhood, we sit at the table of "family."  I can have the family I do in part because of men like Dr. King. There were others. 

But today is as good a day as any to stop and see our history and to see we took a fork in the road opportunity.  And as a result, I can have Jacob and Kaley in my family. 

His dream was for his 4 little kids to be judged by character, not skin color.  And here almost 50 years later, I still want the same thing for my 6 little kids.  We have 4 races in our family.  And I think the world is getting better.  But racism still exists. 

And as we enter the world of wheelchairs and facial differences, I find the world can still sometimes be a cruel place.  The prejudices still exist.  For me, I find the ones towards disabilities  more prevalent than the ones of race. 

So as the mother of 6 kids with special needs, I have a dream too.  A dream that all kids would be treated equal.  That their skin color, their "look" and their abilites are not the first thing people notice.  I dream for people to see past the drool, the wheelchair and the cleft lip to their smile, their sunshine, their soul. 

I dream that one day my kids and all those like them across the world will be able to say, "Thank God Almighty I'm free at last."  Free to do my best.  Free to live to my full potential.  Free to go a day without being made fun of.  Free to just be a kid.  For people to see ME and not that I'm different.

Until that day comes, I will do my best to give my kids thick skin and a great sense of humor.  I will arm them with cute comebacks and winning personalities.  I will encourage them to use their words of kindness, even when people are cruel.  And mostly I will teach them how to treat all peoples of the world with dignity and respect. 

I have a dream that I am not alone in this endeavor. 

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