And it's hard to be Different without knowing exactly why that is. My father could never give me a straight answer. I'd hear that I had "mild cerebral palsy, so mild that it's virtually non-existent" or "a neurological impairment that affects staying on task." He told me once that my ski-jump fingers (they curve upward at my first knuckle) were from the CP.
No matter how many times I've tried to find a correlation between flipped fingers or cerebral palsy, it doesn't seem to exist.
I actually think the same thing about this supposed cerebral palsy that I have.
But this post isn't about my parents, and it's not about neurological impairments, staying on task (I hate that term so much it's not even funny) or CP, whether real or imagined.
This post is about someone who helped me to believe in myself.
I met her in November of 2006, and we spent a quiet Saturday evening out by the pool talking. I have a picture of her that I love, her cigarette burning to ash, looking off across the mountains, wearing that familiar old grey sweatshirt jacket that she got at one of the casinos in Denver.
Over the time I've known her, she's taught me to believe in myself a little bit more every day. I still have my moments - where I tend to use the excuses that my parents gave me rather than owning up to the fact that I've done something stupid - and she calls me out on it. I thank her for that.
I'm gradually beginning to learn that I can come to her with anything. "I raised my boys to know that they could come to me with anything," she tells me as I stand in the office, the dogs at my feet. "And they always did, sometimes they told me a little bit more than I probably wanted to hear, but they always came to me."
Since even before I met her, she's been in my corner. She's been the voice of reason, the encouraging spirit who offered to adopt me after a few too many Bud Lights one night in December of 2006. She also warned me not to drink too much on the plane (watch out for free drinks!) and to not ride the baggage carousel, ESPECIALLY if drunk. Sounds like sage advice to me.
And for someone who's faced a lot of trials in her life, notwithstanding raising two sons who have been different like me - but without the caps - she looks as life as a gift she's been given.
And looks forward to unwrapping that gift each and every day.
I know she knows who she is, and I know that she's smiling as she reads this. And I'm sure that she'll catch me later tonight and let me know how much she appreciated it.
But I can't let you know who she is...that's top secret information.
Well, you know what, maybe I could.
But you'd have to pay $50,000 dollars and swear not to tell if you really want to find out.